So the 24/7 sports news coverage world we live in today is all obsessed over one thing right now: NBA free agency. And as I write this, we are less than 12 hours away from the official start of it. Where will all these stars, and most importantly, LeBron, go? I previously wrote about how LeBron was at a crossroads, and thus, the NBA was too, and with more and more news coming out, it seems that any decision he makes will have an enormous domino effect on the rest of the league. I had been hoping that the Bulls could get Wade or LeBron, but never a Chris Bosh with either of them, and now the reports make it sound like LeBron would only come to Chicago if Bosh would also be there. As a Bulls fan, I’m almost ready to pee my pants from the excitement of that report, if it happens. The Lakers are absolutely stacked right now, but it’s hard to imagine them standing up to a starting five of Rose, Noah, Bosh, LeBron, and low level free agent shooting guard “X”, and Taj Gibson coming off the bench.
Anyhow, a comment I heard from Jeff Van Gundy on the radio this morning, inspired me to write this post. He’s clearly worried about the competitive balance of the league if these guys got together, especially if Miami is able to get LeBron and Bosh in there with Wade. He said that he’d prefer that these stars were all on different teams and competed against each other, which I agree with (unless they’re all on my team), but then he made the comment that I disagreed with. JVG suggested that LeBron shouldn’t want to play with Wade and vice versa because if they did, their accomplishments would be diminished. I agree that going down in history, they wouldn’t be each remembered for being the best player on dynasty championship teams, but instead they would be remembered for the two superstars that teamed up to dominate the League for the next 6-10 years. But why should this stop LeBron or Wade? LeBron has already proven that he can’t win a title all by himself. I can’t think of any team winning a title with really only one true all-star on that team. AI got close, but he came up short, and then LeBron had the same thing happen to him when he carried that horrible Cleveland team to the Finals, only to get swept by San Antonio in 2007. Even Jordan needed Pippen, and despite how prideful and arrogant MJ can be, I think even he would admit that Pippen was the key to him getting over the hump. He needed that running mate to lean on at times. The big difference here, is that Pippen was always considered one of those 2nd best on a championship team guys, and both Wade and LeBron are considered #1’s. But my point is, despite how much LeBron has accomplished at a young age, he still hasn’t gotten that title, and he’s sneakily going to run out of years in his physical prime before we know it. Why would he waste those years by just rotting in Cleveland, hoping to win a title just once when everything falls into place, when he could be dominating the league for years to come in Chicago? JVG’s point was all predicated on LeBron’s legacy, and how it would be cheapened by kind of “giving up” on winning a title by himself, and just kind of almost cheating to win by assembling an all-star team. But don’t we give players tons of grief when they put their own legacy before winning? Shouldn’t we praise these stars for putting money and statistics aside for more victories and championships? And besides, what would be the better legacy: All 16-20 years of your career in Cleveland, 0-2 titles, God-only-knows how many MVP’s and scoring titles, or half of your career in Chicago with 3-8 titles (is 8 high enough of a number? I don’t know?), still plenty of MVP’s, but lower scoring numbers, however, possibly better defensive and assist numbers. In fact, if LeBron plays in Chicago with Bosh and the rest of the current team, he could coast most nights and save his legs so much that it could actually prolong his career, and he could even just rack up big assist and rebound numbers just for fun in an effort to achieve that elusive average of a triple double. Then how would we remember him?
So, in conclusion, Miami or Chicago are by far the best choices for LeBron if he wants to win, and I think, they’re still the best for his legacy. New York possibly could be better than Cleveland if he could convince Bosh to go there, but they wouldn’t have much around them if they went there. And then, after that, I don’t think he’s really considered anything else except staying in Cleveland, and that wouldn’t be good for him. For everyone that wants to kill him for leaving Cleveland, think about this: How many kids, when they graduate from high school, end up leaving home to either pursue college far away, or just go out and see the world in some other way? And doesn’t our society encourage this type of behavior? LeBron has lived in Akron/Cleveland his entire life, and you’re gonna hate him for wanting to try something new? Please!
There’s my take. Let’s get this, Bulls!