|The Ringer 2 poster|
Here’s the thing: even if the Heat win their third straight title this June, I don’t think that that will matter at all. He’s gone. I am well aware that no superstar has ever left a three time champion but when has LeBron acted like past superstars? Maybe I’m forgetting about all of those times that George Mikan threw powder in the air (although it was probably dandruff in his case and I love making Mikan references). Just look at the Heat though. That roster is getting shakier and more brittle by the day. Also, why would you play with Mario Chalmers if you didn’t have to? I don’t believe for one second that he is going to commit to three more years there. He has to see that if Indiana hasn’t already passed them (they’re at least in the same neighborhood) that they will be very soon. LeBron is in title-hording mode now. In my opinion, he’s going to just keep committing to places for 3-4 years and then will re-evaluate his circumstances and that is really smart.
Randall Stevens wrote about Bron’s Mount Rushmore claims last week. That’s what he desperately wants: to be universally considered one of the four best basketball players to ever live. That is a lofty goal but he can most definitely get there with savvy free agency decisions and numerous titles. If anything, it’s nice to hear more “being the best to ever live” and a lot less “global icon” nonsense. This is what you want from superstar athletes.
That is why today, before we start predicting where LeBron will call home in 2015, I figured that I would unleash my MOUNT RUSHMORE OF LEBRON’S NEXT TEAM CANDIDATES! OK, here is a rundown on possible suitors who didn’t make the cut for this Rushmore for a variety of reasons.
Lakers – He wants to be better than Kobe. He isn’t going there to help Kobe vulture two more rings. Not happening.
Heat – Maybe it’s more likely than I give it credit, but he’ll have to kill himself over the next three years carrying that franchise even more than he is now.
76ers – DARK HORSE ALERT! Drooler tells me that Philly has 40 million in cap space this offseason to go along with a pretty good young corps of Thad Young, MCW, Nerlens, and a guaranteed top 3 pick. Plus, a big market with title-starved moron fans has to be a little bit enticing.
Blazers/Suns – Definitely great situations to go into but I just don’t see LeBron playing out west unless it is in LA
Warriors – Now THIS would be a lot of fun but they are in salary cap hell and Mark Jackson might not know what to do with a guy that has this much LEMPH and STREMPH. And now, the Mount Rushmore of LeBron Suitors:
LA Clippers – They could pull this off easily although it would require a trade due to the cap. LA gives MIA Blake Griffin and two first round picks. BOOM. Not a bad consolation prize at all since the alternative would be LeBron just walking away for nothing. Not to sound like Simmons, but who says no to that? The only issue is that the Clippers will always play second fiddle in LA and Don Sterling is a shithead owner. If LeBron leaves the east coast, this is the only option I see that makes sense.
Chicago – Once they finally take Carlos Boozer out back and euthanize his corpse with the amnesty clause this Summer, they are going to be able to afford a max player. For whatever reason, the Bulls seem to have an odd fascination with Carmelo which is confusing to me. I can’t see him and Thibs getting along at all. But I still think the same thing now as I did four years ago—he isn’t going to Michael’s town to play in Michael’s shadow. Plus, I think that he truly hates Noah as most people should.
Cleveland – I’m going to try my ass off not to come off like a homer here, but the “go back home” narrative will always need to be considered. I do feel that at some point before his career is over, he will come back. It would be nice if he was still in his Prime99 though and not in his Jordan Wizards years. Let’s be honest here: if you win a title in Cleveland and end the drought, you are a GOD. Hell, that automatically puts you on all Mount Rushmores. If LeBron is being transparent here and solely focusing on titles and his legacy, then it makes more than a little sense to go back. It’s not as if were empty on talent. It is there, but it’s misguided and unsure of itself. I’m not predicting that at all, people that don’t read, but I am saying a lot of wrongs could be righted by everyone involved (from the owner to the player to the fans) if they got remarried for a few years and make a big run at a title. And now that I wrote this, Kyrie will probably demand to be traded today.
NY Knicks – I can scream as much as I want to about how winning a title in NE Ohio would define his career, but that pales in comparison to the MSG stage. If he won a championship for the Knicks, holy shit would that be annoying. The Knicks are also in salary cap Hell and are run horribly but Joe Johnson has proven that any contract can be dealt if you are willing to eat enough shit. Yes, I’m talking about Amare. Granted, they are a few months away from their best player being Tim Hardaway Jr. but the Knicks are still the fucking Knicks. This move would also be for his legacy although it might not be the right time to go to NYC. Maybe in three or four years after his next contract is opted out of.
While I say that I think he’s done in Miami, I also understand that they are likely the favorites to retain his ELITE services. But it is no fun at all to make a “will pick up his option” prediction. It’s fun to root for chaos and the hope that Miami “fans” have their own post-Decision sad fest. BUT, if he decides to move on from SOUF BEACH and take his talents elsewhere, my heart says Cleveland but my head says out west (see you in LA, go Clippers…ELITE Cramer reference). In case you were wondering, my genitals think that he will CARRY THE FLAG and join the Jackets. And if lamenting LeBron’s future on the court does nothing for you, how about the rumors that he will be starring in Space Jam 2? Fun FACT: I’ve never seen the original Space Jam. Thoughts? Predictions? Old Man Fashioning a Kayak Out of a Log?