The Spurs clinched their 5th NBA Title since 1999 last night with an absolute show of textbook basketball play, dismantling every Heat attempt to comeback. With that being said, the second season of the NBA will be starting shortly after...
One of my favorite time's of the year, all of the rumor's and speculation as to who is going where, who is getting what in term's of dollar's, what team is the next one to look out for, and many more. With that, it is widely speculated that many players under contract, including LeBron James, may opt out in search for the next big thing. In this article we will look at potential moves should LeBron opt out of his deal and the ripple effect it'll have on the Eastern Conference.
It's crazy to think that one person could dictate how a whole league's offseason will wind up, but that's just what LeBron is going to do, whether he want's to or not. For the sake of this article, we will say he opt's out of his current deal with the Miami Heat. Let's see some of his potential suitors and where it leave's other team's future's.
Say LeBron goes through the offseason only to stay with the Miami Heat, the balance of power will stay lay within South Beaches parameter's. All Eastern Conference contender's will have to go through Miami for their chance to make it to the NBA Finals. The Big Three stay's intact and Miami would then look to add more talent around them. LeBron is still in his prime as is Chris Bosh, but it look's as if Dwayne Wade is starting to slow down a bit. I only say this about Wade because he is physically beat. He did not play in back to backs all season long it seemed like and he is losing his legs. But I fully expect Wade to comeback stronger next season. Miami will more then likely try to add a scorer in the draft to supplant Wade when he need's a breather. Regardless, Miami would still be a favorite to make it to their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance. If he leaves, Miami is still in a pretty good situation to still compete as all that money that was tied into LeBron could be used to fill out their roster.
Chance's are LeBron doesn't even sniff Boston, but what will happen if LeBron does stay in Miami or in the Eastern Conference is the Celtics will have to go after the like's of Kevin Love even more. Should LeBron stay in Miami, Boston will more then likely step up their effort's to acquire Love and then another star to pair with Rajon Rondo to form another Big Three in the NBA. If LeBron end's up packing his bags to go somewhere's else, Boston will still more then likely try to land Love but not be forced to try to acquire another start Guard or Forward. In turn the Celtics may end up with Love to combat wherever LeBron lands, but how the Celtics dictate their offseason will be related slightly to where LeBron ends up landing. I still fully expect them to go all-in on Love at the end of the day, but like I have stated before, where LeBron goes, the Celtics will react accordingly.
New York Knicks
The Knicks were in on LeBron until the very end of his controversial "Decision". So this is still a logical destination for James to land. It has been widely speculated that James and Carmelo Anthony have wanted to play on the same team since the Olympics, where they thoroughly dominated any and all comer's. It has also been rumored that Anthony is going to be opting out of his deal in search for his best opportunity to win a ring. May they both take their talent's to South Beach? Or would they both take slight pay cut's and play in New York, where they would play for new head coach Derek Fisher and oh yeah, President of Operation's, Phil Jackson. This could also shake thing's up in the East as they would instantly become an instant favorite in the conference, they would instantly compete and they could attract key, low cost free agent's to help fill out their roster. That could be scary.
This is where LeBron should go if he decide's to take his talents elsewhere. He left a lot on the table when he left and they have been struggling ever since. If he want's to gain respect back from his hometown team, he would end up back there. Cleveland has a lot going on for them this offseason. They just recently landed the first pick in the NBA Draft again for the 3rd time in 4 season's. They have a budding superstar already in Kyrie Irving. Plus LeBron (depending on their cap situation) could take another star player with him. The star's have been aligned perfectly for him to go back and this would be the perfect opportunity for him to make better on his promise of bringing the Cavs back to prominence. Landing here, the Eastern Conference could be completely wide open. Teams like Chicago, Miami, Indiana, Celtics(If they land Love etc.), even the Raptor's would challenge for beast of the East.
This is more of a pipe dream but Chicago will be in the market for a big named free agent after losing Derrick Rose for the second time to an ACL injury. This is the house that Jordan built, so why wouldn't King James want to play for an organization that drafted Jordan 3rd overall in the '84 draft? I think LeBron respect's what Jordan has done for the organization not to play there for that specific reason, but should Chicago look to offload some bad contract's, they will be major players for his services, if not Carmelo Anthony's. The balance of power would shift slightly Chicago's way because Tom Thibodeau's team are notorious defending teams, adding LeBron would not only add defense but it would seriously up their often slow paced offense. Pairing LeBron with Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose could be very enticing for James at the end of the day.
My Prediction is that LeBron will end up in Cleveland. I still believe he loved playing for the hometown crowd, with the opportunity to make Cleveland relevant again, he may want to finish his career where it started. Western Conference team's such as the Lakers will be hot on his heel's. It would be very appealing for James to play for L.A. and with Kobe Bryant for a few season's and then become the heir apparent. We won't know until he officially opt's out of his deal, which many fully expect him to do. He would be smart to see where his market stand's. LeBron has the chance again in the midst of prime to make another team legitimate again. The Cavs star's are aligned perfectly. I think he need's to go back where it started and finish the job.
Wherever this man decide's to take his talents
he will make whomever he plays for extremely relevant and instant contenders, he's that good.