LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and Carmelo all have difficult decisions to make...
In this final installment of "Where Do They Land?", we will take a look at a handful of player's, who are all free agent's, and their potential landing spot's. We will be discussing the big three of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and forward Carmelo Anthony.
Let's first take a look at LeBron James and his potential suitor's as he is finally looking to become the highest payed player on his team:
The Miami Heat - They have been favored all along to retain his service's, even convincing fellow teammate's Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to opt out of their contract's and sign new one's to build a more complete team as the San Antonio Spurs showed them that you can't win with 3 people all the time. You need to roll with 9 to 11 or 12 player's to he successful. There has also been speculation that there had been some unfortunate communication between the big three, so LeBron has been showcasing his talent's elsewhere.
The Cleveland Cavaliers - Is it possible for LeBron to go home? Absolutely. Personally I think he should have been thinking about going home for a long time. But that hasn't happened. They don't have the necessary cap room to make that happen right now, but whatever LeBron want's, he will more then likely get. The Cavs have a solid foundation of young talent, even drafting Andrew Wiggins number one last week. Should LeBron land back in Cleveland, I fully expect them to try to nab another star player in the process.
The Houston Rockets - While Houston has been putting the full court press on Carmelo Anthony as of late, they may turn their focus to James should the Miami deal fall apart. They are a loaded roster from top to bottom and landing LeBron would make them even better. The only issue is, does LeBron want to work in the Western Conference where the competition is a complete 180 from the Eastern Conference?
The Phoenix Suns - Seemingly in on every free agent name available, Phoenix seem's poised to land a legitimate star. As the team is currently constructed, they have enough cap space to land two star player's under max salary deal's, something that may be enticing to LeBron as he could court the like's of a Carmelo Anthony to come play as well. Phoenix is already a solid team with a good core of young talent, signing LeBron would make this team extremely exciting to watch.
The Dallas Mavericks - Mark Cuban's team has been trying to land another legitimate star outside of Dirk Nowitzki for year's. Now they have the opportunity to do it since Dirk took a very cap friendly 3 year deal, worth $10 million a year. With the Mavericks already so deep with talent, landing LeBron would make them an instant top 3 Western Conference team, ready to challenge San Antonio in the Conference Finals.
The Los Angeles Lakers - The Lakers are going to be in need of someone to take over as the face of the franchise, as it's current face is on his last leg. Literally. Kobe Bryant has been sidelined for most of two season's amd who better to take the reign's when Kobe's time come's then LeBron? With only 3 player's under contract, there's a chance they can land the king.
My prediction - Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers should he decide to leave.
Let's look at Chris Bosh suitor's:
The Miami Heat - Again, another situation where I find it difficult to see leaving. But this is all predicated on LeBron James figuring out where he want's to take his talent's. Bosh on the other hand cannot thrive as a center. He need's to be used as a stretch 4 so of he stay's in Miami, look for them to find a rim protector.
The Houston Rockets - Bosh wouldn't be a bad consolation prize as a second tier type of player for Kevin McHale to land. In Houston, he would compliment Dwight Howard very well as Howard would man the middle, allowing Bosh to play a more natural position.
The Toronto Raptors - More of a long shot but may be worth the investment. Starting his career there, Bosh could fill in nicely again as a stretch 4, pushing Amir Johnson to a center. An up and coming team, Bosh would only help their cause in a playoff push.
The Los Angeles Lakers - In need of a power forward should current forward Pau Gasol leave for another team, the Lakers could very well use Chris Bosh. He is a more athletic version of Gasol and could fit in nicely with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and any other complimentary piece the Lakers land.
My prediction - Miami Heat
A look at the longest tenured Heat player, Dwyane Wade:
The Miami Heat - Convinced LeBron James would stay, Dwayne Wade opted out of the final $42 million big one's over the next two year's to take a pay cut to allow the team to get better. While it's a possibility they don't end up back together, it would still he difficult to see Wade leave the only NBA home he's known.
The Atlanta Hawks - More of a stretch, but a decent fit, Wade could be used as a go to player in Atlanta. They have a good compliment of shooter's and inside presence's in Al Horford and now rookie Adrien Payne, Wade would fill a need as a wing scorer and go to player.
The Chicago Bulls - This has always been a rumor. This is his hometown team and on paper, make's a ton of sense. Wade would fit in as a wing scorer, desperately in need of a wing player of Wade's caliber to work with Derrick Rose. He wouldn't be asked to carry the load, he could come off of screen's and bury 15 to 18 foot jumper's and be the slashing player that Derrick Rose has needed.
My prediction - Miami Heat. Chicago Bulls if he leave's.
Enough of the big three. Let's look at Carmelo Anthony:
The New York Knicks - If Carmelo is money hungry, this is the only place where can get the most. He is the tip dog around New York, his family love's it there, and Phil Jackson is there. It has been tough for a lot of people to leave Phil as he is a great basketball mind as we all know. He would build a premier team around Carmelo. With the Eastern Conference a lot weaker then the West, I would not be surprised to see them make the playoffs next season.
The Chicago Bulls - Desperate for a wing scorer, Anthony would fit the bill in Chicago. How he would be able to play with Derrick Rose is a fairly large question mark as they both need the ball in their hand's to be successful, is kind of tough to tell at this time. In the meantime, on paper, if the Bulls land him, they are an instant Eastern Conference Finals contender.
The Houston Rockets - We all saw the highly publicized billboard with Carmelo wearing a Rockets jersey with Jeremy Lin's number, but the fact of the matter is as deep as Houston is, the still need a wing scorer. Carmelo bring's that to the table. His addition would turn James Harden from a volume shooter to a volume scorer as it would open the floor a little more for him. He may benefit more then anyone. Dwight Howard may benefit as well as he'll scope any miss and get his point's that way.
The Phoenix Suns - Loaded with cap space, Phoenix could look especially appealing if LeBron wind's up in the desert. More of a long shot then anything, but can't be counted out until he sign's a contract.
The Los Angeles Lakers - As is with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony could become the next face of the franchise when Kobe Bryant decide's to hang them up. With a great distributing point guard in Steve Nash, Carmelo will still get his touches and will still be that volume scorer that LA desperately need's.
The Dallas Mavericks - There is no denying Mark Cuban's infatuation with Carmelo Anthony. He has long coveted the all-star forward and he would make for a great addition to the Mavs. With Nowitzki taking a large pay cut, they have room to move around, they have a very deep team and adding a wing scorer only make's them one of the top two or three team's in the Western Conference.