Thursday, July 8, 2010

Some thoughts as we await "The Decision"

LeBron James will announce which team he will sign with tonight at 9pm ET on ESPN. It would be almost impossible for you to not know that, especially with ESPN going no more than five minutes between James segments for the last few days. In that same time period, different sources have said there are indications that LeBron is leaning towards all different destinations. It has all been very vague, as you would expect, and no one really knows what will happen.

While we wait patiently for this ego-driven self-love fest to begin at 9, which will feature a sitdown with Jim Gray and a follow-up interview with Michael Wilbon, here are some thoughts about the rumors.

I am still under the belief, even with Chris Broussard's latest vague and indescriptive report that sources tell him LeBron will join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, that the big three joining forces is a pipe dream being perpetrated mostly by the "worldwide leader." While the team would undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with, would LeBron James - the same man who needs an hourlong special to say which team he is signing with - really want to play second fiddle to Wade in Miami?

If the Heat won a title with James, Wade and Bosh, it would not be the vindication that LeBron seeks. He would have just jumped on board with an already talented team, Dwyane Wade's team. In Miami, LeBron James is Scottie Pippen and Wade is Michael Jordan. Could LBJ really handle that?

If LeBron were to stay in Cleveland or go to New York or New Jersey, the team would be his. Even with Amar'e Stoudemire in New York, LeBron is the bigger star and would get most of the glory that comes with winning a ring. In New Jersey, LeBron clearly overshadows Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. In Cleveland, it's always been LBJ's town.

In Chicago, LeBron James would be compared with Michael Jordan even more than he already has. If he wins five rings, it won't be enough.

The Clippers have been ruled out by everyone, even though they have a solid team with Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and a potentially healthy Blake Griffin. Adding LeBron would certainly make them a contender. So if we assume Los Angeles' "B" team is out of it and the Nets also have no chance, then it's down to the Bulls, Knicks, Heat and Cavs.

If you're LeBron James, which of the following situations would you rather have?

With the Knicks, you can join Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire, and add another big contract next season when Eddy Curry's contract is off the books. With the Bulls, you join Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah (whom LeBron had a little scuffle with during the season), and Carlos Boozer. With the Heat, you join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but you have to take less money than any other team can offer. In Cleveland, it's the same old gang but Shaq will be gone and most of the attractive complimentary players that could be had in a trade are off the market.

Obviously the best chance for winning comes in Miami, but there are many sacrifices that would have to be made, especially for someone who lately doesn't seem like he is very selfless. If LeBron is going to abandon Cleveland, the best chance to become a global icon is in New York. And if he wins just one title with the Knicks, he'll be a hero forever. In Chicago, one will be looked at as nothing near Jordan's level and in Miami it won't be because of him.

We'll know in just a few hours what LeBron's decision is. Throughout this process, though, LeBron has become a "love him or hate him" guy. After tonight, a lot more people will probably hate him than love him.

(Image courtesy ESPN)

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