The talk of the sports nation is NBA free agency. It is a big deal. There’s no doubt about it. The players that are up for grabs include Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and of course LeBron. The wheelings and dealings this summer are going to completely shake up the league. My crystal ball says that the Celtics won’t be seeing the NBA Finals next year.
Lebron James is the talk of many towns. Towns that have an NBA team and towns that don’t. In football terms, think of it like this: Peyton Manning who grew up in New Orleans coming out of high school as a man-child who could automatically play at the pro level. Imagine that happened and the sport of football basically revolved around his image and talent. Now consider the Giants (move over Eli!), Jets, Dolphins, and Raiders are trying to sign him to a long term deal while the Saints are trying to keep him in the city that he built.
All teams are trying to build a roster around LeBron that would bring in championships for years to come (if Kobe doesn’t have a say). I don’t care if you like basketball or not. The situation going on is interesting and the courting ritual is on. LeBron is basically going through a 4-minute speed dating process.
My guess is that LeBron goes to the Knicks. The Clippers are out for obvious reasons (Kobe’s town, not an established organization, chronic losing), and the Bulls aren’t really in contention. Chicago is MJ’s town and after winning 6 rings for the team, MJ doesn’t want anything to do with the Bulls. That says a lot about the Bulls taking care of their former players. No one has really come back to Chicago to coach or manage the team. The Nets lost GM Rod Thorn and the new Russian owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, is business savvy, but it’s unknown if he knows how to work the ropes of a professional sports team in the U.S. I believe LeBron wants to close the chapter on Cleveland even though it is home. He’s 25 years old, and he’ll be nearing the peak of his career in the middle of this next contract. Now is the time for him to put himself out there on the market, see what his value is, and then pack his bags to go where winning a championship is most likely.
I believe he will choose the Knicks because they have the biggest market. They have the cap room to sign 3 major players and in 2011 when Eddie Curry’s contract is done, have even more room to sign a 4th star (perhaps Carmelo?).
Live it up, LeBron. This your chance to be “Sitting courtside, Knicks and Nets give me high fives.”
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