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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. Jb - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    GO LEBRON…And take the Browns and the Indians with you. Who really gives a crap about this. There are so many more important issues in this world then worring about a person that can play a sport. Get a life and jobs fans!

  2. get real - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    Lebron you haveno class. Your shoes suck too, and G2 tastes like crap. James is fake like tiger.

  3. VINNIE - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    FOLKS ALL I CAN SAY IS GAME 5 !!! THAT TELLS A LOT ABOUT THIS MAN …. NO GUTS .. GO TO MIAMI LEBRON MAYBE IF YOU GET LUCKY A SHARK WILL BITE YOU IN THE ASS!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Happster - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    More sheer intellect…you never run out! I’m going to save your blogs forever and ever, so I can tell my children I knew you. Yayyyyy Ken!! Can you give me a referral to MENSA? You must be distinguished alumni, right? What a burden it must be that you are so much smarter than everyone else. That must really be why everyone on this blog seems to hate you…it’s not because you’re an arrogant and misguided doooooooooooche.

  5. ronnyd - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    Well personally, living in this “cursed” city of Cleveland, I’ve had it up to here with all the media hype. I agree that LBJ was good for the city and gave us a few contender years but I say “contender”. I have lived thru the Browns Cardiac Kids days, the Indians heydeys in the late 90′s and most recently, the Cavs. Again, nothing or nobody could ever break this curse we’re under. I really could give a rats ass where LeBron lands. This media drama of a guy who supposedly “had” a good head on his shoulders is sooo far gone now. He bowed to the media and has held this city hostage for weeks. For me… good bye LBJ… it was fun while it lasted but you’ve changed. Boy have you changed!

  6. Ken - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    Actually not a Celtic fan (didnt even predict them to be in the Finals), but I see you admit that Gasol and Fisher are floppers, so thanks for that. Lebron has a brand, sure, but so did/does Michael Jordan, so what?! So did your boy Kobe before the rape accusation. Do me a favor, add up all of the hours Lebron has actually given for interviews lets say for the past 10 days…i think the answer is zero. There are a ton of ways to raise money for charity sure, but can you imagine how much this is gonna raise?! He was going to announce it anyway, why not raise money for charity with it? Its a one hour television show, there are A LOT worse 1 hour shows out there, and this is a one time deal. He hasn’t said a word the last 10 days, yet when Kobe holds a press conference to apologize to his wife, its okay?! c’mon.

  7. San - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    couldnt agree with u more, This guy is too full of himself. Lets get on with the games. Le Bron can go take a walk, full of gas with zero performance. The media is cleearly to blame for this circus

  8. j childress - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    The economy is in the toilet (a delicate word), we have an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and the economy is down the tubes. Why do you waste any time on bron bron and his multimillion dollar future possibilities?
    Are there any adults in charge there?

  9. Captiosus - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Gigantic “We are all witnesses” signs and now a one hour publicity stunt and ego stroke on ESPN just to announce where he’s going. This whole thing is going to backfire on him due to a thing called karma. He, and ESPN, are already being heavily mocked due to this one hour publicity stunt, and if he goes through all this and ends up playing on a team that performs only mediocre for the next season or two, he’s going to be universally laughed at for his ego.
    Really, LeBron, stop buying the media’s hype. Stop buying the hype of your sponsors. Just pick a freakin team and stop trying to make yourself a one-person media circus. You may just end up in the circus’ freakshow instead.

  10. former akronite and St. V grad - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    the name “bubba” is fitting for you my friend….RACIST

  11. think4yourself - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    I remember when Lebron was in High School and ESPN was drooling all over itself to show his games. His mom was in the stands after a dunk on some 15year old saying “We gettin paid”. Pretty much sums up the NBA and this circus, No Class..

  12. Jerome - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    Here’s my take. If James signs with the Heat not only will he never reach his personal goal (being the best player of ever), but the Miami Heat will be the most hated NBA team (like NY Yankees). It would be a BIG mistake for, Wade, Bosh, and the NBA if King James decides to sign with Miami.

  13. Drmark - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Ohmigod what a circus. Lebron is a loser, big capital L loser. Please let him choose a team and get it over with. Its the NBA which is what 3rd or 4th best revenue generating professional sport?

  14. skb - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    What does Paul the Octopus say?

  15. David - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    I think if he is going to make a break from basketball, he will make a break from his home town also, and you will be seeing him in Silver and Blue later this year. Besides, he has even joked about playing football and playing for the cowboys. Go Cowboys!

  16. Ken - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    You get mad for people on here that dont make any sense, and now you get mad and sarcastic for comments that actually make sense and have a point? There is no pleasing you is there Happster. Last time I checked it wasn’t arrogant to give someone benefit of the doubt, and it still isn’t arrogant to realize that this is a big decision that’ll effect the landscape of the NBA. And if you dont think this is a big deal, ask yourself why 10 NBA teams tried making a play at Lebron, and the other NBA teams would have but dont have the cap space. Sometimes extreme sarcasm is a sign that you just have nothing else intelligent to say, you can tell your children I told you that.

  17. skb - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Imagine two piles:
    One is a pile of rings.
    The other is a pile of cash.
    If you want a championship you pick the rings and not handcuff your team by taking the pile of cash.
    Make sense?

  18. Soothsayer - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    @ Phil Cook, I can’t agree. Compare Shaq, not as great as Jordan obviously but a top 100 player and top 10 big man. Would his legacy have been the same if he stayed at Orlando? Instead he goes to LA, has a 3peat with a 4th at Miami. Should have won 2 more at LA but his and Kobe’s ego got in the way. Even though he left LA, they still love him there. If Labron goes to Miami and wins multiple rings all is forgiven (except in Cleveland).

  19. John Laudenslager - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Until Lebron wins even a divisional championship, the title King is not deserved. He is a very, very good player and has branded himself extremely well. The 1 hour show in primetime is just tooooooo stupid for a 1 minute speech as to what team he will play for next year. Tooooooo Stupid!

  20. R ALan - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    When does he go to the bathroom ,Just ask ESPN & James..
    Who cares, he is not worth the news….

  21. pjmjfan - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    Ken, you take this forum way too seriously. Not to mention your last post took a turn down the same path as some of the people you’re slamming. Contrary to your rant, I am in the WTF-are-you-doing-Lebron camp AND am definitely a pure, true, few-decade fan of the NBA. I’m not hating on the guy and fully appreciate his on-court abilities. The issue is the majority of fans are scratching their heads over all this……and they’re the ones who ultimately keep Lebron’s money machine running. For Lebron (the happily chosen poster child) to very tactfully go silent, allowing the media to over-hype all this is truly sad, and provides an arsenal of ammunition to the critics of the league. Yes, it thrills me to know the BGC will be helped, but that could’ve been done without the circus.

  22. DCLAKERFAN - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    ok firsst caps off…now another reality check..to lead a team with the best REGULAR season record the last 2 years and not even make it to A championship series whatever you do should be under the radar and you are right LBJ has not been in the spotlite since his interviews but his name has been blowing up in the media. It’s not his or Dwades or CB4′s fault for all the hype I’m not blameing him but i do think he has more control of it. When MJ came to the wizards the media blew that up especially when he came out of retirement to play but he didn’t put it on Showtime. Second..when they flop they flop with MULIPLE RINGS!!!!!

  23. Dino - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    Lebron can’t go to the WEST coast because David Stern not going to let Lebron beat Kobe and goes to the final. LA is a bigger NBA market and NBA can’t loose the money.

  24. Mike - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    Well, I hope “King James” and his out of control ego enjoy all of the attention on Twitter and from this ridiculous ESPN show while it lasts, because it cost him his legacy and integrity.
    All the “chosen one” has proven is that he’s just another greedy, no-class mercenary who choked when it counted didn’t have the guts or talent to lead a team to a championship on his own merits.

  25. rickLAFAN - Jul 8, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    This is another grandstanding by LBJ and his cahoots. He can’t match Kobe with the biggest stage of winning championship rings so he has to hold everybody’s hostage by making it super-special by announcing it on ESPN unlike the way Chris Bosh, Amare and Wade.
    My prediction is, he’ll be bolting Cleveland and go to another team. The only problem with that if he goes to Miami he can’t claim the team his because that team is Wade’s unlike Kobe with the Lakers. Unless, winning is everything and ego goes out the window he’ll join The Heat. Knowing LBJ it probably won’t happened. Bulls and Knicks he can be the franchise only player. We’ll see tonight.

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