By Rich Winter
The news from Miami this morning is not entirely shocking as LeBron James opted out of his contract to explore the free-agency market.
That news makes the upcoming draft and free-agency period a blockbuster for sure as teams are going to be lining up to take a shot at King James.
Couple of random thoughts here:
1. Everyone is saying there is no way that LeBron goes west and leaves the comfy confines of the eastern conference. Why the hell not? I've come to respect the game of LeBron James this year and I've also come to respect his heart and willingness to play hard. Deep down I think he's a very solid competitor who wouldn't necessarily shy away from playing with the best of the best in the west.
2. Who is the other piece that it will take to lure the services of LeBron James? Let's say Cleveland...what if the Cavaliers offer that No. 1 pick to the T-Wolves for the services of Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and LeBron James paired with any of the other roster guys on that Cleveland team might be enough to lure James back. I don't know how LeBron feels about Kevin Love but the 12.5 rebounds is something that Chris Bosh just isn't capable of. Wherever he goes, James knows he needs a younger, more competitive big-three than he had this year in Miami.
3. Where he's not going - I don't believe that LeBron James will be going to the Lakers or the Bulls. There is no way that LeBron signs up with the Laker to help Kobe Bryant get more titles. That just doesn't make sense to me....LeBron might get a third but Kobe would get a sixth and LeBron would only be deepening his chase for comparative titles. I don't see LeBron going to the Bulls, only for the fact that is MJ's town.
4. The Clippers are my choice - Listen, the Clippers have already passed up the Lakers and without Donald Sterling around to make bad choices, on and off he court, I think the appeal of L.A. and playing with Chris Paul and a young Blake Griffin has got to be appealing. LeBron and Chris Paul were in each other's weddings, I believe they are good friends and I think the appeal of playing less minutes with a core of young players is something LeBron would love.
5. Why James doesn't want to play with Melo - I realize the guys are good friends but at the end of the day Melo doesn't play defense and he shoots to much. LeBron just got done playing with a bunch of guys that don't play defense and I just can't see him teaming up with a guy that shoot the ball 22 times per game.
Where will LeBron's jersey be retired if he chooses another team besides Miami or Cleveland?
That is a pretty interesting question to me. If LeBron goes to the Clippers and wins a couple of titles in the next five years he might get the jersey hoisted into those rafters. What if he goes to the Clippers and then goes somewhere else?
Frankly, it could be anywhere.
One thing is clear, LeBron James has poured gasoline on an already interesting NBA draft and free-agency period. He's made this decision with enough time for teams to make changes, adjust draft thinking and get their shit together.
Gonna be an interesting few weeks for sure.