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Report: If LeBron decides to leave Miami he knows he can land anywhere he wants

Feb 5, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT

Detroit Pistons v Miami Heat Getty Images

We’re only talking about this because it’s LeBron James, the best player on the planet right now. And we’re talking about this because general managers are allowed to dream — and they dream of LeBron opting out of his contract this summer (he has that option) and forcing his way to their team.

The hard facts are it’s highly unlikely LeBron James leaves Miami after this season.

If the Heat come together and win their third straight NBA Finals, he’s not bolting. If the Heat fall short in the Eastern Conference Finals, he is not likely to jump due to concerns about the public relations hit, something he doesn’t want to go through again. Besides, if your argument is he’s leaving because the Heat roster needs work, know that he trusts Pat Riley can recruit that talent to Miami better than some other team in another market can build a roster around him.

All that said, if he does leave he has options — and I don’t just mean the Lakers and Cavaliers with their cap space.

A source reportedly close to LeBron laid it out for Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst at ESPN.

“This time is going to be different,” a source close to James said about James’ view of free agency. “If LeBron decides to look at other options it won’t just be teams with cap space. He has 30 options if he wants them….

“LeBron is not thinking about free agency right now, he’s totally focused on the season,” said one James associate. “In the summer he knows he can get to any team he wants to.”

The argument is this — if LeBron goes to Riley and the Heat and says “I’m opting out and you have to work a deal with the Clippers (or whomever) or you will lose me and get nothing” then the Heat would find a way to make a deal. The Clippers would trade away whatever assets they needed to. If LeBron forces things deals would get done. LeBron James is one of a few players in the league who have the power to do this if they really want, he has the leverage. It’s good to be the King.

But having that power and exercising it are two different things.

In the end LeBron will look around the league and realize that even if Miami needs some roster help they have the best free agent closer in the game in Riley recruiting guys to play in warm weather Miami, with all its perks, in a state with no income tax. Oh, and by the way you get a legitimate shot at a ring if you play with LeBron. If Chris Bosh or someone else bolts Miami this summer, that roster spot can be filled.

And LeBron doesn’t even have to opt out. He can always just keep going with this contract.

But GMs can dream.

  1. sellahh - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    Shocking.

    • money2long - Feb 5, 2014 at 6:29 PM

      ShocKING

      • miamatt - Feb 5, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        I see what you did there

  2. moseskkim - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    i dont necessarily agree that if he picked a team, he would get there no matter what. i think if the heat really didnt want anything that the other team would trade lebron for, they would be inclined to just say..ok see you later. i agree though that everyone would be interested.

    maybe the only way lebron leaves is if wade gets seriously injured. not saying i want that to happen but his knees are pretty messed up so there is a possibility. maybe they get severely outclassed by indiana or suffer a totally unforeseen upset by a toronto or atlanta (super unlikely).

    • coachjac30 - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      so then you do agree that if he picks a team, he would get there no matter what. You just don’t agree that the Heat would do a sign and trade, which doesn’t mean he can’t just up and leave.

      • apkyletexas - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        He can’t go anywhere he wants. The Spurs and the Pacers don’t do business that way – those are two teams he couldn’t force a trade to. They might make him a reasonable offer in free agency, but they wouldn’t spend months working on trying to bust up their rosters on the slim chance they could actually pull off a trade.

      • coachjac30 - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:21 PM

        but he won’t need a trade to go somewhere, if he opts out of his contract he is a free agent, meaning he is free to sign wherever he wants. So if he is a free agent, and he WANTS to play for the Spurs, no matter what, he can then sign with them for the vet minimum if he wants, and there is nothing anybody can do about it. So yes, he essentially can go WHEREVER he wants.

        But he will stay in Miami, because that makes the most sense and cents.

      • apkyletexas - Feb 6, 2014 at 12:06 AM

        Read the article – it specifically said that if he wanted to move to another team, he would threaten to opt out and force Miami to trade him, so that they would get something in return and not lose him for nothing.

      • coachjac30 - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:43 AM

        Again, he has the right to opt out, which would make him a free agent. Once he becomes a free agent he can choose to go to whatever team he wants. He doesn’t have to threaten a trade if he doesn’t want to.

    • belleby123 - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      Well he certainly wouldn’t pick the Bulls, because they would only pay him half of market value. Hey, maybe they can sign Melo for 5 mil a season!

      • geefors - Feb 7, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        @belleby I dont think money is gonna be a problem for lebron between salaries and endorsements he has got plenty. he is chasing rings and if aint miami its LA

  3. spursareold - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    The fact is, Wade’s career is in a death spiral, but he still wants to be paid, which precludes Miami from bringing in top talent to augment their three guys. I don’t belive that LeBron and Bosh is enough to ring, so if he wants to chase Jordan’s rings, he’ll either have to throw Wade under the bus, or bolt the team.

    • stayhigh_247 - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      Yeah but Jordan did it all in a Bulls jersey, if he bolts to chase Jordan there will always be that asterisk.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:03 AM

      Wade’s current PER is 21.6, which is about where Kobe’s was when he was 31, and in the same range as Scottie Pippen when Pippen was at his absolute best (since you brought up Jordan and the topic is about help). And Wade is producing like that while on a management program, which is great for him. He’s also shooting a career high 55% whilst playing a career low in minutes. Fantastic. So he should be fine for 2-3 more years.

  4. 1heatedtoombrayduh - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    30 teams though? really I cant see OKC giving durant the boot for Lebron..and tbh the best player on the planet RIGHT NOW TODAY is kevin durant..

    from and unbiased heat fan..good day

    • moseskkim - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      stats wise durant. but the game is not all about stats. so if westbrook didnt get hurt, durant wouldnt be putting up these monster stats. therefore durant is the best player in the world because westbrook got hurt. sounds stupid but in essence that is what it is. durant is absolutely amazing but lebron is nowhere near stepping down from the top spot. aint no PER or stats gonna change the fact that lebron is the single best player in the whole world. if you say mvp you have a good argument. best player in the world today? durant has no chance. lebrons in his prime and only getting better.

      • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:55 AM

        hence the capitilized words “right now today” Lebron JUST started ramping it up…im not talking stats, just the game in general.. I know what i was saying

    • legend30 - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      Wait… Durant is the best player in the NBA, because he played great in the month of January? Does that mean LaMarcus Aldridge was the best player in the NBA in the month of December? People watch ESPN way too much. LeBron is still the best player, Durant plays better than LeBron for one month, and he’s all of sudden Jesus.

      • fanofthegame79 - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        Legend and engh have it right: KD is having a great half season so far…but let’s see wha the rest of the season has to offer.

      • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:54 AM

        hence the capitilized words “right now today”

    • engh533 - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      KD is not the best player he is just having a better season this year

      • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:53 AM

        hence the capitilized words “right now today”

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      He’s going to Charlotte. They’re giving up Gerald Henderson and Ramon Sessions for him

    • geefors - Feb 7, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      just because you keep repeating it doesnt make it true he is not the best player on the planet that is James . KD is however the best and most prolific scorer in the league. and by . imean Period

  5. cantonbound13 - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    Flopper, whiner & PED user.

    • kinggw - Feb 5, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      And dont forget two time NBA champion!

    • miamatt - Feb 5, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      A heat posting without cantonbound would be like a day without sunshine.

      • gofinsgoheatfloria - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:24 AM

        A nice thing about cb’s posts is that he can’t even play the banners-in-the-rafters card, so at least we’re spared that.

  6. vikesdynasty - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Wow great non story. In other news my Vikings suck. Any other highlights for me?

    • elcapitanfiscal - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      Also, your vikings still have no SB

  7. coltzfan166 - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    LeBron isn’t leaving Miami. Just keep in mind why he left Cleveland in the first place. So why in the world would he leave a place where he’s winning championships?

    • antianarxi - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      to make more money….. thats what free agancy does.

      • elcapitanfiscal - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:01 PM

        False.

        Miami can offer LeBron a better contract.

      • gofinsgoheatfloria - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:14 AM

        LeBron left some money on the table so the Heat could keep Haslem, so your getting the financial side so wrong doesn’t even matter. At worst, at the end of this season, LeBron has two rings in four years in Miami, Pat Riley in charge of the roster, and a wife and kids rooted here.

      • belleby123 - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:38 AM

        I would think the odds are LeBron will stay in Miami until he retires in about 30 years.

    • coachjac30 - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      wow anti, why do you even post. In the Embiid blog you claim that somebody has offered him money and gifts to go back to college with the promise they would take him number one in 2015 and now you are saying Lebron could make more money in free agency even though his team can pay him more than any other.

  8. sportsnut101 - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    I would love if he joined a new team every year lol

  9. legend30 - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    It’s funny how ESPN is saying Clippers now, because it’s obvious LeBron isn’t signing with Cleveland. They have to pick a new destination, so why not Clippers? First it was Lakers, then Cavaliers, now Clippers. What a joke. He’s staying in Miami.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      That’s just to promote tonight’s game.

      • fanofthegame79 - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:24 PM

        Hear me out….watch for Chicago. I’m telling you, that desination makes sense for LeBron. I could see him ending his career there. What am I basing this off of? Pure speculation. But it’s a good discussion starter (and I can really see something like that happening).

      • antistratfordian - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        LeBron does not have a great relationship with either Noah or Rose. Even though James praises Rose every chance he gets, Rose only seems interested in criticizing LeBron on the low. You don’t think LeBron notices? He does. And Noah? Well we know the history between them – but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t work together – they probably could. I think a bigger issue would be between Rose and LeBron.

      • 91devinhester23 - Feb 5, 2014 at 7:16 PM

        you kidding me? bulls fans hate this prima donna as much as bulls players

      • coachjac30 - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:41 PM

        and just like any other fan base, as soon as he puts on their teams laundry, he will get a standing ovation.

  10. 1972wasalongtimeago - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah ? Blah blah blah blah blah. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!

    • ranfan12 - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      -antistratfordian

      • money2long - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:29 PM

        hahaha
        he IS the rant master so that was an appropriate quote.

    • miamatt - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      Spot on. Until this season is over, every story like this- read EVERY SINGLE ONE- is just noise, and usually put out by somebody with an agenda (note: page views are an agenda).

      Don’t do it to yourselves Heat fans- whether he stays or goes, you and I are not going to learn anything by trying to read the tea leaves in the here and now.

  11. bougin89 - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Wait, you’re telling me every team in the league would want the best player in the league?

  12. antianarxi - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    look for teams who have assets, cap space and potential for a ring. there arent that many teams for LeFlop to go to….

  13. dylude - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Parsons + Jones + Motiejunas + 2015 1st + 2017 1st + future swap rights

    That gets LeBron to Houston to play with 2 superstars that are actually in their prime. The haters will always hate on him but he might well stack rings however he can.

    • money2long - Feb 5, 2014 at 6:40 PM

      All of those names are replaceable. Not happening

    • fanofthegame79 - Feb 5, 2014 at 6:58 PM

      That’s a better idea than my Bulls hypothesis. I really think this (LeBron staying or going) all hinges on Wade’s knees…

    • miamatt - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:31 PM

      Why not just bring the players LeBron wants to Miami? That’s a lot more realistic than Pat Riley taking a bunch of used Go-Bots to facilitate a LBJ to Houston move.

      Let’s not ignore the possibility that as Wade declines more major players are added. I’d bet on stacking rings in any Miami scenario over your proposal.

  14. gquesen - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Cantonbound13, you’re a troll plan and simple. Don’t call anyone a PED user if there Is absolutely ZERO EVIDENCE to support your claim. Still hanging on to the summer of 2010? Pathetic.

    • cantonbound13 - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:48 PM

      The guy was balding at 18! Hello!!! You probably believe A- Rod & Bonds also.

      • money2long - Feb 5, 2014 at 6:41 PM

        To be fair, Arod still had a full head of hair.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Feb 5, 2014 at 7:01 PM

        So was I. Sadly.

      • miamatt - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        Right there with ya ’72. Maybe not at 18, but early 20s? You betcha. Anybody who has been to a 5 year high school reunion knows what the hot topic is.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:29 AM

        LeBron wasn’t balding at 18. He’s not even close to being fully bald today. He’s 29 and his hairline has been receding – which is normal for all sorts of men. He has not yet developed a bald spot at the crown, which would be a real worry (ala Manu Ginobili or Kobe Bryant). He may never go bald at the crown.

        Michael Jordan was completely bald by age 26. All of his hair fell out. He couldn’t hide any of it with a headband like LeBron does at the temples. Young MJ was completely Mr. Clean bald on top by his mid 20s. So… FYI, they didn’t test for PEDs in Jordan’s day.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 8, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        You’re a piece of sh+t!

  15. knoxxlive - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    Milwaukee bucks

    • bougin89 - Feb 5, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      We are in complete agreement!

  16. mogogo1 - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Not understanding what he’d gain by leaving Miami. And his legacy would take another huge black eye form a move like that. “All-time great who spurned his hometown and the city where he won his titles” isn’t how he probably wants to be remembered.

    • bougin89 - Feb 5, 2014 at 5:11 PM

      I still can’t believe the PR advice he was getting before “the decision”. He must have known leaving Cleveland his hometown he would have been villainized. I mean his PR people must have thought that was at least possible, right? And then he goes on national TV and that whole nightmare started for him.

      If he does leave Miami(I highly doubt he does) lets hope he’s getting better advice this time around.

      • adoombray - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        nobody cares about PR except for people that get paid to manage or criticize it

      • bougin89 - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:42 AM

        Is that why Lebron has stated he had so much fun being the villain and being rooted against his first year in Miami?

    • fanofthegame79 - Feb 5, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      I think the “his legacy will take another hit” theory is bunk. People have a short memory, and they only remember championships won (at least in basketball). Think about all of the all-time greats that moved teams – some more than once – and it’s not part of their legacy: Wilt, Abdul-Jabar, Shaq, Oscar Robinson; I’m sure there are many more that I’m just not mentioning. All I’m saying is if he does leave Miami because Wade’s knees are shot and they can’t bring in anyone else, but he wins more championships, people won’t talk about him leaving. They’ll talk about how he took multiple teams to the peak of his profession.

    • coachjac30 - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:47 PM

      Absolutely right mogo..Winning rings is nice (and in basketball quite important to legacy talk) but being known as the guy that got x amount of rings with 3/4/5 teams, doesn’t help him in his mission to be called “best ever”. To do that, he stays in Miami (where he earns the most possible money) and recruits players to come play with him.

  17. gquesen - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Definitely do not believe A-Rod or bonds. Just continue to embarrass yourself. We’re all laughing.

  18. reupjosh - Feb 5, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    “The hard facts are it’s highly unlikely LeBron James leaves Miami after this season.”
    Hard facts? The future is speculative. Kurt, you can do better.

  19. miamatt - Feb 5, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    How is this news? LeBron holds all the cards right now.

    I did read today that the moon can cause the tides to change anytime it wants.

  20. adoombray - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    “What? LeBron. Sorry to break it to you. You’d be a systematic non-fit. There’s no way we would drop absolutely everything on our roster to make you want to play here.”

    Things that would never be said under any circumstance

  21. campcouch - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    Or…Miami releases Wade and Bosh,signs Melo and Zach Randolph. There are lots of alternate universes in comics.

  22. buffalo65 - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    Raps

  23. spyder9669 - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:17 AM

    Suns have by far best chance of landing him. Mega cap space and hello 6 1st round picks the next 2 years. Limitless potential as a team. Its over he’s coming..

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