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LeBron's choices: It seems like Miami now, but in this drama things change

Jul 8, 2010, 9:02 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for James_numberone.pngWe don’t know. We won’t really know until some time between 9 and 9:15 pm Eastern tonight.

What we have now is drama. Manufactured drama. And that makes every rumor suspect — if you were trying to create drama for a show like this, you’d leak different things to different people. You’d keep everybody guessing, wondering if it was Colonel Mustard with the candlestick or Professor Plum with the revolver. Miami or New York or Cleveland.

And so it is, a shifting sands of favorites. We don’t know and don’t trust much of what we hear anymore. We’ll be here tonight, live-blogging the end of act one of LeBron James NBA career and wondering what comes with act two. And if the setting changes. But we don’t really know.

Here is where things stand early Thursday morning.

The Miami Heat are your front-runners, and things seem to be solidifying for South Beach. Multiple reports have LeBron leaning strongly toward joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami to form the best three-man unit on a team since Magic/Kareem/Worthy (or maybe Bird/McHale/Parish). To do this, they would each have to take about $1 million less a year, but they could do that and say it’s all about winning. Miami would be an interesting basketball experiment — three superstars surrounded by the underwhelming Michael Beasley and nine minimum salary guys (all Miami could then afford). Can that team really win a title?

The Cleveland Cavaliers are everybody’s number two. It’s his hometown, where his worshiped as one of their own, something no other elite athlete really has. And if has a one-hour national television show to rip out the collective heart of a city, that could have a public relations backlash. (Really, no matter what he chooses there will be a backlash, this is a hard public relations sell after tonight.) The Cavaliers had the best record in the East two years running and have most of that roster back, but can LeBron and new coach Byron Scott get them over the playoff hump?

The New York Knicks are another team whose name you keep hearing in rumors. If LeBron’s ego is such that he doesn’t want to just win but needs to do so in a spectacular fashion, to create a true legacy, New York is the place. This would be good for the league. The Knicks have a top power forward in Amare Stoudemire and a system with Mike D’Antoni that would have unstoppable force that is LeBron driving the lane getting the ball in more open court situations. He could put up incredible numbers, and keep an army of tabloid gossip columnists employed.

The Chicago Bulls have bought their way back into the LeBron sweepstakes by landing Carlos Boozer. Combined with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and LeBron, that team is an instant contender. It would be by far the best supporting cast James has ever had around him. It makes a lot of on-the-court basketball sense. But Chicago has never seemed the preferred destination by LeBron — there was a reason that Chicago went hard after Dwyane Wade, they felt LeBron was not coming there early on. But if it really was just about basketball and winning…

The New Jersey Nets and the pitch made by Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov impressed James, by all accounts. And this is a franchise that will be moving to Brooklyn in a couple years. But that’s the problem — it’s in a couple years. Everything about the Nets says “in a couple years.” They have a good young core that needs to develop. LeBron is not likely to wait for that.

The Los Angeles Clippers… we have to mention them. They met with him. This is a big market team that is right there with Chicago in having the best on-the-court unit to put around LeBron — Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Blake Griffin, and rookie Al-Farouq Aminu. But would you trust the peak of your career to owner Donald T. Sterling?

That’s it. That’s where we stand. Right now. But check back in an hour or two for when the leader changes. Because if you’re going to create real drama, you need to have multiple viable contenders.

152 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Basketball Player Wannabee - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    Does anyone really care?? I sure don’t.

  2. Jay - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    Steve,
    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Where does this guy get the nads. First and foremost, he is a baskeball phenom. That being said, why does he deserve an hour show to let us know where he is going. Who cares, Wayde, a champion, has given us his answer. Bosh, a well rounded player, his answer. Amari has given us his. What has LBJ ever done other than win an MVP award and score multiple triple doubles? Give me a break, you need to practice humility first, your dribbling skills second, and then keep working on that jumpshot because bulldosing opponents to the hole will not work for an entire career. The sands of time are withering Mr. James and in case you haven’t noticed, they are not on any athlete’s side.

  3. Dave S. - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    Nobody knows what LeBron is going to do, or what he’s leaning towards, except for maybe his momma.
    It sure as hell isn’t going to be a guy making web articles who claims to have some sort of insider knowledge – that’s ridiculous..

  4. CJ - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    He is NOT going to Miami. Wade was wearing a shirt in the interview yesteray that said “Wade County”. Lebron is not going to be playing in Wade County. He is not going to sit backseat for ANYONE. That is DWade’s city and team, Lebron won’t be joining him. He will be a Knick, bet on it. Anyone else find it “curious” that all the Miami talk came about soon after the tweets about LBJ going to NY?? So LBJ’s camp threw the Heat rumor out there, so NY will remain a suprise tonight. He will be Knick, bet on it.

  5. Matt D - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    Actually, I think LeBron should be commended for keeping his ego in check. The perceived inflation of ego is media generated. It would consume most men, but LeBron takes it in stride. This article no less is filled with hyperboles.
    This hype means nothing. A NBA championship means everything. Think about it. It has taken Kobe’s five championships just to keep the media dogs off his heels. Still, the whispers remains, “Is he better than Michael”?

  6. Joe - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    James is headed for Miami, get used to it.
    He’s already having his people call free agents to assess who will go with. As far as not enough money, Wade & Bosh have already said they would take less to build a TEAM. They all want a dynasty. I beleive Shaq is available and looking for a few more rings . . . can you think of a few more? Get ready for this decades version of Jabbar/Magic/Worthy. . .

  7. Omnius - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Looks like Pat Riley is trying to emulate Boston from 2008 by getting two more big names to join Dwayne Wade for a Big Three team to win a championship. After Miami gets done paying these three vastly overpaid overhyped ballhogs it won’t have the money to hire a good team to surround them.
    LeBoring James is nothing but overhyped media garbage and the worthless media is trying to hype their Boy Blunder into something he is not – a champion. Just watch there aren’t enough balls on the court at one time for these three ballhogs to play with and they will end up fueding like spoiled brats. ESPN is wasting an hour of time hyping this pathetic excuse of an NBA player, I sure won’t waste a second bothering to find out where the King of Choke is going.
    Kobe Bryant is the greatest player in the NBA right now by a large margin and he has 5 championship rings to prove it. Lakers will Threepeat!

  8. jodielovesrats - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    If only we as a people spent the same amount of money, time and energy that has been wasted on the self-inflating hype of Lebron James on the BP disaster and other REAL LIFE issues (like jobs- so people could afford tickets to go to the games-duh!)We need to get our priorities straight. The only way I’d give a crap about where LBJ goes, is if he stuffs his money in the leaking pipeline or created a few thousand jobs for families losing their homes and their means of surviving.

  9. Steve - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    Having always been a Heat fan and not getting much chance to see Bosh or James play, I have to assume that those poeple calling the 3 players ball hogs have never seen Wade play. Maybe 2 of them are ball hogs, but Wade is one of the most selfless players in the game. Wade’s high ppg is not from being a ballhog, it’s from skill. Nobody who has ever pkayed with Wade has anything critical to say. Honestly I think Wade would rather have 20 ppg than 30 and win games and not have to end up on the floor so much having to be the only play-maker. Just my 2 cents.

  10. mike - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    Better be a place with wide doors. His head is so big he can only make it through certain ones!

  11. Jimee Johnnson - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Exactly!

  12. FF - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    Hey Steve:
    I am pretty much with you on that. His preformance in the playoffs made me cringe. He may not have “winner” in him.
    But I would like to see him in NY. He still may be impressionable enough to rise to the occasion, there, and maybe he’ll also learn to dress like a man (not a very big boy in plaid knickers and matching cap and vest…)
    FF

  13. tony - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    Who cares, with Wade and Bosh, Miami has enough to build a champ without LeBron!funds

  14. Jimee Johnson - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    Whoops: I replied to the wrong comment. Nothing against Kobe or the Lakers.

  15. Johnny Most - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    Brett Farve, LeBron James, yada yada yada…At this point, who cares?

  16. Phil Cook - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    I have 2 points that I have to make and a conclusion:
    Point 1
    Let’s talk legacy. Would Michael Jordan be Michael Jordan if after a few bad years at the beginning of his career he decided to leave Chicago to go play on a team with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson? Answer NO WAY! So if LeBron wants to abandon us Ohioans for Miami I hope he realizes he is destroying the legacy that he hopes to build.
    Point 2
    LeBron acknowledges that since there were no good sports teams in Ohio he became a Cowboys fan, a Yankees fan, and a Bulls fan. Now we have a great Ohio sports team that the youngsters can be proud of. How can you think about taking that away from them.
    Conclusion:
    Either LeBron knows all this and will stay in Cleveland; or he leaves and in which case he better get security and get him and his “team” out of town quick!

  17. Chris - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    This is the best thing to happen to the NBA in a long, long time. Everybody’s talking about the NBA in July!
    Also, big kudos to Lebron for having the announcement in primetime and getting ESPN to donate the commercial revenues to charity. A lot of people are saying it’s an ego thing but he knows it’s a big deal and people will be watching either way – so why let the networks reap the rewards (with bigger ratings) when he can leverage the announcement to help the Boys & Girls Clubs?

  18. David - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Just for fun, let’s go out on a limb and a long limb at that. LBJ will be announcing he is taking off basketball for a few years and he will be signing with the Dallas Cowboys.

  19. BBallDball - Jul 8, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    My sister works for a tavel agency in Bristol, CT where Lebron is doing his show tonight. She said she just booked him on a 10:45pm flight to Cleveland…right after his show. Why would he fly to Cleveland if he wasn’t going to be staying there as a player? Looks like he’s going there to do “I’m staying in Cleveland” interviews.

  20. Ken - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Sometimes I wish there was a IQ test that you needed to pass before posting comments on a blog because these “ego” comments, these “who cares” comments are obviously biased comments of not basketball fans, but bandwagon fans that can’t just enjoy whats going on in the NBA right now. This is unprecedented stuff, MJ didn’t get this much hype back in the day when his contracts were needing to be re-negotiated. Lebron is the best (arguably, i know Kobe fans) player right now in the NBA and him switching teams this early in his career to do what all NBA players dream of doing, winning a championship, is not egotistical, its actually pretty self-less. If Lebron goes to Miami, he will be giving up star power (he has to share it), giving up time the ball is in his hands (he has to share it), and possibly even a few million in a contract, ALL in order to get the coveted NBA ring. How is that ego-driven? So real NBA fans, real basketball fans, not extremist fans that can’t enjoy this moment in the NBA…sit back and prepare to hear some big news today (whether he leaves or not).
    PS If you were all sick of hearing about Lebron, what are you doing reading this article and spending enough time to comment on it huh?!

  21. shetc - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    Paul the Octopus declares for Miami!

  22. djaphense - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    DON’T CARE, DON’T CARE, REALLY DON’T CARE!

  23. Goal - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    You are why Americans become dumber each year.

  24. AkronEd - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    After everything our city of Akron and the city of Cleveland has given and done for this guy, he puts on this staged drama for his weak little ego. He can go where ever else he wants. Big Egotistic Baby!!!

  25. gasman - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    who cares???? enough of this already

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