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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. az - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    THANKS LeBron, for making me HATE you.. I feel stupid for supporting you all this time.. But you have proved urself that you are immature, stupid and aching for fame … I am sure that there are other fans here who will join my boat and support ur opposite team every time you play..
    TRY TO FOCUS on the game .. and winning a championship.. like MJ, Magic and even the most hated KOBE..

  2. colleen - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    sooo disappointed in the SELLOUT ~ Basketball as we know it is dying… wait.. i think it is dead.

  3. give me a break - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    This whole thing is so contrived. The NBA is a dying product in need of any publicity it can get, tawdry or not. I was a season ticket holder for 33 yrs in Indianapolis. I gave them up when I realized that NBA p[layers only play the last 5 minutes of a game and that meant I was paying $61.00 a minute to watch a game. Let the league fold.

  4. Trom1ram - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    See, that is the problem. LeBron is not an under-achiever. This man has shown that he will do well, even win championships if he were to have the correct nucleus around him. That is precisely what he is working on. I was one of those who apprehensive about his position in Cleveland. When he could not win it with Shaq then I said something was wrong… not that Shaq is any good and I am not undermining his ability. LeBron is an excellent player,but if he does not have players not necessarily D-Wade or Bosh, to put him over the edge then he will be the next Patrick Ewing or Charles Bartley–great player who did not have championship rings.

  5. think4yourself - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    I’m so sick of this subject. Shut your mouth, play hard and try to win championship. Otherwise your just another overhyped, over sponsored, over exposed noise maker. BTW The Lakers are still a better team with you in Miami, The Magic are still a better team and the celtics are still a better team so it doesn’t matter.
    If you bail on Cleveland you better win otherwise your done. Your label will be Mud, and press will so negative you wish you were back in C-Town.

  6. Bubs - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    With your lack of punctuation, you are in no position to criticize Trex. If you don’t like black people, why don’t you just say that? That would be better than a cowardly lecture for “illiterate ballers” as you stated so poetically. I actually agree with the content of your post, but you are obviously a douche. As for Lebron, yo….manye…..I hopes dat he go to Miami cuz he will be ballin wit sum bad ass playas. Just keepin it real!

  7. Ken - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    hahaha…thanks Stever! But DCLakerFan forgets that Lebron hasn’t made a deal about this, WE HAVE! The media has! He hasn’t said or had one interview with anyone this last week with all of these team interviews going on, so how are you going to blame him for making a big deal out of it? He negotiated 1 hour to explain his reasoning, and most of it will probably be interview time of him and the organization he joins..which is great! Now we get to hear perspective of why he picked the team he did as opposed to being left in the dust with why he picked them. If Kobe were to leave the Lakers, which by the way has almost happened TWICE! you better believe he would have held press conferences, interviews, etc. Instead of doing that, Lebron is knocking it out all in one hour. So the next time you want to compare occupations or bank accounts feel free, but just because Gasol and Fisher flop like no other doesn’t mean Lebron’s press conference will. So ask again who is making a circus out of this…

  8. Anonymous - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    no he doesn’t need to stay in cleveland and where is you getting this info about chris paul arriving when the hornets said they won’t trading him? you ohioians are not lovers of lebron b/c if you were you all would want to see the man achieve. face the music, realize that the best for lebron is to leave and also realize that if he wins a title the state of ohio wins as well just by him being an ohio native. tell me who’s on that cavs team that he can actually play with that could beat that heat team now, or could actually beat the magic.

  9. deno - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    first of all who in the hell gave this lebron character the title of THE KING anyway. as janet jackson would say what have you done for me lately. he hasn.t done a damm thing and he has the nerve to hold a press conference to let the world know where he going to play next. who in the hell does he think he is, and supposely he is going to miami to be known as the three stooges. Curly can be BOSH, LARRY can be WADE, and of course JAMES can be MOE. there are so many EGOS involved hear, all 3 will be slapping each other around. miami is not the right fit for lebron. please go anywhere else but miami. the transformers had it right THE RISE AND FALLEN OF LEBRON JAMES coming to a court near you in 2011.

  10. Anonymous - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    BOTTOM LINE, Win at the highest level or else you don’t belong in the Kobe, Jordan, Bird, and Magic Conversation.
    BTW I’m not a Kobe fan but he is money when it matters and Lebron
    could go crazy over the next 3 years and won’t come close to reaching Kobe’s achievements.
    Team changes with all this hype cannot turn out well, the bar is so high.

  11. Rogue - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Who f*cking cares? Goddamn you sheep never cease to amaze me…

  12. JT - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    LeBron= LeHype, LeChoke, LeEgo, LeMe
    No question that this overhyped guy is a great basketball player, but this is really over the top. Make an announcement and get over yourself already and don’t hide behind a charitable cause to AGAIN promote your brand. Absurd.

  13. ballinNJ - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    What’s the big thing about this Moron choosing a team to play for? He hasn’t won anything yet, and he hasn’t proven that he can win one either. Kobe and MJ didn’t have this kind of circus when it was time for them to choose the teams they want to play for!!!

  14. LBJH8R - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    What? No private/chartered jet? Unacceptable. How can someone as important as LBJ be expected to ride in an airplane with unworthy commoners like us. ;o)

  15. Darwin - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    trex – you are an absolute moron. I am surprised you were smart enough to turn on the computer to post. Why haven’t your actions already removed you from the gene pool? Don’t you have a vending machine to tip over or something?

  16. NJJOHN - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Who gives a ‘s..t’ what this guy does! We have all these problems like the deficit, immigration, oil spill in the gulf, the war in AFG and we’re supposed to be concerned about where some BB player decides to play? Give me a break! Speaks volumns about where our country is. We’re more concerned about athletes lifestyles; hollywood bimbo’s and stars; trash TV shows; ect. When 25% of American’s can’t answer the questions of ‘Which country did we fight in the revolutionary war to gain our independence’, we’ve got some really deep problems.

  17. Stephan - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    I find too much hype is being made about this issue. Lebron chokes up at crunch time. He doesn not have any credentials to show. Thus far all we see is potential, that alone doesn’t make you a superstar. Lebron has been elevated through the media. he still needs to prove that he is worthy of the title attached. I could not care less which team he joins.

  18. jeff - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    just what i was thinking…except it was for the browns !!!

  19. Kg - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    This might be the least intelligent thing I have ever laid eyes on.

  20. Jim - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    Seriously, drop the drama, it’s just a means of self-promo money and media coverage for ESPN.. Let’s see him do this as a seasoned vet like Ray Allen.. It’s so over the top..

  21. NBA-Fan 4life - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    I am a huge basketball fan and have been for many years and I personally am sick of hearing about Lebron James.
    He’s managed to choke again and again in big moments and yet he still has the ego to pull something like this?

  22. Joe - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Ken…are you another one of those sore loser Celtics fans or a Bron appologist? What planet do you live on? Bron doesn’t want to hype himself or his brand? Are you serious? Everything he does is to hype himself and ultimately become a Billionaire. Sure the media is at fault for eating it all up too, but Bron and his handlers have milked this to a vomitus level.
    If he cared so much for charity, there are so many better ways to raise funds for them.
    BTW, Lakers won the championship not because Fisher or Gasol flopped, but because Celtics chocked in the last 6 minutes. Get over it buddy.

  23. Lakers 3-peat - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Gold jacket, green jacket who gives a sh*t. Lakers 3-peat baby

  24. john j pileggi - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    This whole thing has taken on the feeling of American Idol. When you think about the men of great dignity, Curt Flood and Catfish Hunter, who won the original sports free agency, I suppose it was so that spectacles like this could one day take place. Still, there is just something wrong here. Cleveland has spent a great deal on money, either public or private, to build the platform from which Mr. James can now leap from. Flood lost his case but never his dignity. Hunter escaped Charlie Finley, but what tilted him to the Yanees was not just money, but the presence on the Yankee scouting staff of a man who gave him his first break. Money need not subsume loyalty and integrity. I fear that has happened here to a very nice young man.

  25. NYC - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Right. I’m sure we all believe he’s flying commercially. In coach, right? Please.

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