There is no doubt at all that these next couple of months will belong to LeBron James. As of yesterday, the King decided to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat and test the market of free agency, and everyone will follow the crown. This two-time champion and four-time MVP is certainly the player that any team would love to land in hopes of bringing the Larry O’Brien Trophy to their town.
Although James has opted out, this does not mean he will be leaving the Miami Heat. James could easily re-sign with the Heat but of course with a new, higher salary. Surely, the King is worth the money, but it would be a complicated situation in trying to afford all of the All-Stars that grace the Miami franchise. James will keep an eye on the moves that the Heat makes in the offseason to make his final decision, but he will also welcome offers from other squads in the end. In this current time, James has two main options: stay or return.
Ironically, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been blessed by James, taking his talents to South Beach. Since “The Decision,” the Cavs have been given three number-one picks in the draft and other top-five picks as well in just a few years. If they were to start the player that they draft this year, they would have five young athletes with a lot of potential, but no real leader.
The Cavs have a lot of power with their pick this year and the players they have taken before, and they can use this to an extreme advantage. If they were to deal out some player and make cap room, they could ultimately bring James back to his first throne in Ohio.
The King has wanted to bring a championship back to the homeland since he was drafted and now he has a second shot. With point guard Kyrie Irving and the rights to this year’s No. 1 draft pick, we would surely see an exciting Cavs team to watch and James’s legacy would truly be complete.
The choice that would be better than James going back home would be to stay in Miami. He just opted out of playing for a team that has been to four straight NBA Finals, in which his team won half. Yes, the fact that he lost two does taint his reputation, but he’s still LeBron James.
A team going to four straight championship rounds has been unheard of since the Magic and Bird era, and this band of stars pulled it off. Miami is truly the place where James has the greatest chance of success. If the old gang stays together, they have a chance at winning a couple more rings, but not five… or six… or seven.
Aside from James, another star has hit the market as well. New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony will possibly look for a new arena to play in this upcoming season.
They say that it is hard to get superstars to play well together for an entire season and the Knicks were a perfect example of this. With former player Derek Fisher coming in as coach, I can’t see a title coming anytime soon and neither could Melo. Now in pursuit of a ring, and not a wad of cash, he has two very valuable options to look at.
First is the one that people have been buzzing about since the season ended: Chicago. This team has continued to be consistent and a dominant defensive powerhouse throughout the last couple of seasons. Even with former MVP Derrick Rose sitting out nearly two full seasons and Luol Deng moving to Cleveland, the Bulls have still been a name in the Eastern Conference.
The team’s defensive play has been enough to carry them to victories without Rose, but their offense has struggled to the point where D.J. Augustin became their first scoring option. In comes Melo and this is a completely different offense.
Rose’s success and effectiveness is unclear with this franchise at this point, and Anthony is someone that they can rely on to take the shots. If Rose were to return and possibly accept a role as a facilitator, he could use his slashing skills to his and Melo’s advantage while still getting his own buckets.
Another possible home for Carmelo would be Houston. He would join a band of strong offensive players and an already well-suited program that just lacks a bit of direction. The Rockets have all of the tools they need in James Harden up top, Dwight Howard down low and a now-proven Chandler Parsons supporting them.
Adding Melo into the mix could be dangerous, going back to making stars play well together, but the Heat was able to do it twice and these guys would have the same level of talent with Anthony on their squad.
This could be the more likely spot due to Chicago’s latest move. The word surrounding the Bulls now is the hot trade option in Minnesota Timberwolf, Kevin Love. To acquire the double-double machine, the Bulls have been said to give away possibly Taj Gibson, Tony Snell and both of their first round picks.
They are certainly on top of Minnesota’s K-Love option, along with the Warriors who could be looking to dish Klay Thompson. There are plenty more agents to keep an eye on this season and, with a fantastic draft class coming in, this will surely be an exciting off-season.
A version of this article appeared in June 24, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.