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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. robbie - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    my sister just booked lebron on a l1:00pm flight to LA. WTF????

  2. TominNH - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    This may be the biggest public relations disaster in the history of pro sports in the US! ESPN is colluding in it too! James wants to be the center of attention a lot more than he wants to be a basketball player! WHAT A EGOTISTICAL SPOILED BRAT!

  3. Happster - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    Am I the only one that realizes that 90% of the NBA fandome could give a damn about drama queen LeBron? He better take a discounted deal to be surrounded by studs, because he’s obviously not good enough to make mediocre players good enough to win titles, like the true heroes of the game. And shame on ESPN for giving him a bullypulpit for his overblown, self-absorbed reality TV show. I THOUGHT you were a hard-hitting, objective sports news empire. Now you’re looking more like MTV. Move from CT to Hollywood and just get it over with…

  4. MilitaryMan - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    …and our military men and women are fighting for their dar lifes. Great.

  5. Anon - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Who cares ?
    Lebron please go away….

  6. Tornadoes28 - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Who cares about him. The Lakers are gonna win the title again next year anyway.

  7. Gary J - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    I am tired and bored to death hearing about the second or third most popular sport in the world and how LBJ is going to bless everyone with the announcement where he is going to play. Who cares. Bring on Football season, the REAL SPORT.

  8. STORYBURNcom - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    This guy is the most hated man on the planet today

  9. paul - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    He will go to Miami and be the third best player on the team.

  10. Happster - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    Tell me more, Mr. Genius, tell me more! Oh my lord you are so much smarter than everyone else. maybe MTV…I mean, ESPN will give you an hour to tell us YOUR career plans. Yayyyyyyyyy, you!!

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

    hmmm…but yet here you are, posting in a Lebron thread.
    Amazing. Mr. Activist.

  12. SickofLebron - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    If Miami gets him, every other GM should blackball Pat Riley from getting anybody decent in the league.
    Stay in Cleveland. If you’re going to go anywhere, go to the Knicks and earn your legend.

  13. Yeah Right - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Is that King James at Garbriel’s in Pittsburgh? Maybe he thinking of playing for Pittsburgh?

  14. DCLAKERFAN - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    LOOK HERE IDIOT!!!! THERE IS NO SHAME IN WANTING TO GET A CHAMPIONSHIP AND IF IT TAKES RELOCTING TO ANOTHER CITY THEN FINE…NOW LET ME PUT IT SO YOU CAN UNDERSTAND LETS SAY YOUR CO-FRENCH FRY MAKER AT MCDONALDS GETS AN OFFER TO GO TO BURGER KING AND GOES ON TV 5 DAYS AFTER HE IS COURTED BY BY 4 FAST FOOD JOINTS TO ANNOUNCE HIS MOVE….GET WHAT I AM SAYING DUMMY!!! IF YOU WANT TO GO THEN GO JUST DONT MAKE A CIRCUS OF IT.

  15. Crazy Eddie - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Remember you heard it here first….Ron Paul to Cleveland…LeBron stays…

  16. tre - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    you got to be smoking or can’t be a tru ‘bron fan if you think he’s better off in new york. what do they have that can possibly say we are contenders. sure they added amare but what has he done without nash. if dude wants to win like he claim he does he’ll realize he has only 2 options that could turn the dream into reality and that’s chicago or miami. that knicks organization doesn’t knw what they’re doing and that franchise has been cursed ever since the way they treated ewing. saying that i say this if he’s better off staying a cav than becoming a knick

  17. worst nightmare - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    HE NEEDS TO STAY IN CLEVELAND.. cHRIS pauL HAS ARRIVED. SO I THINK THAT SHOULD BE THE HELP HE NEEDS.

  18. TominNH - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Just what Cleveland needs——– another wacky politician!!!
    LOLOL

  19. bubba smith - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    send him back to Africa where he belongs. we have serious problems in the gulf and with our new black president all we hear about is how much money black players can get. I’m sick of it.

  20. Ken - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Seriously? That’s your reply? And now you think 90% of NBA fans don’t care? Why do you think writers and ESPN continue to run articles and specials on this “breaking news”….because people like you and I eat it up all day! Lebron hasn’t said one word to the media in the last 2 or 3 weeks this has been going on…yet everyone is still running news stories on it, because you keep reading/watching it.
    Any team Lebron goes to will make them a championship contender…its what happened to Cleveland when he finally joined them, do you not remember that? I’m assuming your some Kobe fanatic that just can’t enjoy the NBA, but cringes because when the Lakers won this year, no one cared..it was trumped by the World Cup and then Lebron news…bitter much? And if ESPN did give me an hour special, you or I or ANYONE better believe we would take it…so why are you chastizing Lebron to take it? If you really don’t care about where Lebron goes, why did you read this article? Why do you continue to discuss it? Go ahead, stop watching ESPN, stop watching Sportscenter…I bet you can’t because guess what, its sports news, its not hard-hitting CNN.

  21. oldestelf - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Who really cares. We could fund medicare with the salaries that
    are being paid..Watch ticket prices go up.

  22. stever - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Sheesh DCLAKERFAN, you have both anger management and caps lock problems.
    Sorry Ken, I think he’s off his pills.

  23. TominNH - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    Oh Geeeezzzzz………… just what Cleveland needs—– a 72 yo wacky politician!! LOLOLOL

  24. tre - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    it’s clear to see that you’re from the west coast and that being the la area so you probably don’t get an opportunity to see much east coast ball or just fail to tune in but as history has it,wade won a title on a team much inferior than the kobe’s lakers, lebron took an team in which some college teams could have beating to the finals in which they got swept by, at that time the mighty spurs and bosh,well what can i say besides probably the best skilled pf in the game so if this trio gets together, do you actually think they’re wearing about a phil jackson who i remind you doesn’t coach unless he has an dynasty team?, i’ll ask that question for you; NO!!! you don’t believe me get on the net and see what kobe had to say about this trio playing together.

  25. terry - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    I will not watch ESPN tonight for many reasons, the biggest one right now being that as soon as LeBron says who it is it will be all over the place and people (aka suckers) will immediately change channels anyway.
    Another reason being that I am sick of the whole thing.
    Which leads to the entirely reasonable question – why am I posting?

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