Friday, July 09, 2010

Lebron...

Up until last night the only thing I was worrying about was whether or not he would come to Chicago. But once all the media started talking about the possibility of Lebron joining Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, then I really started to care. Now that it is official, I'm not sure if I can continue to be an NBA fan. I'm glad the Bulls made the move to get Carlos Boozer and I am excited to see who else they bring in for next season, but I feel like the Bulls will just be battling for second place in the East now.

As for "The Decision" itself, I am at a complete loss. When I look at all of the aspects of Lebron moving to Miami I can only see negatives. I think I can say with confidence that Lebron is probably the most hated player in the league (except in Miami, of course). It is hard not to feel bad for the fans of Cleveland, as well. I have spent the last few years rooting against the Cavs but I definitely feel for them right now. Lebron just single-handedly destroyed a franchise and possibly the spirit of an entire city.What makes this all worse is the way that Lebron justified his decision afterwards. He wants to be in a position to win championships, but why didn't he choose Chicago? I am not saying this as a homer but as a realist. He would have been joining a roster that is one piece away from making a legit title run, and he is that HUGE piece. For whatever reason he is taking LESS money than he could have gotten elsewhere, he is moving to the Miami media market instead of any of the three largest in Chicago, NYC, and LA, and he is joining a team that currently belongs to another NBA superstar. If Lebron wants to win championships and build a legacy, why would he go somewhere where he will get the help of two other superstars. Miami is D-Wade's team (hence the image above) and I just can't see that changing. Chris Bosh is a complimentary player that could have easily helped either Wade or Lebron win a title separately. Yet Lebron has decided to head to Miami where he will become part of a 'super trio' and any titles that they win will be forever attributed to the THREE of them and not to the leadership of Lebron. Kobe needed years to shed the notion that he couldn't win a title without Shaq, so I can even imagine what it would take for Lebron to prove he can win without Wade and Bosh. It's just incredible to me.




The final piece of this mind-boggling puzzle: I am not at all convinced that they will even win a title. Not this year, maybe not ever. Why? Well first of all, their current roster consists of 5 players. With those 5 players, the Heat are right at the salary cap and because of this they are only able to sign players at the league minimum. So while Wade, James, Bosh, Beasley, and Chalmers might be the best NBA starting lineup since the 98 Bulls, their bench of rookies and washed up veterans may go down as the worst in NBA history. There is no doubt that the Super Three can do work, but they can't play 48 minutes all season and all playoffs. The Heat are going to HAVE to give significant playing time to their bench, and that second team won't be able to hold a candle to ANYONE (including you, New Jersey). Not to mention the idea of three superstar egos playing together for a whole season. In the Olympics, these guys played 6 games together and they were playing to represent their country. It was a team effort in the name of national pride. Now these guys are playing for NBA titles, and all of the national glory that goes along with it. I don't see any problems with Bosh being a part of this team, but I just can't imagine a situation where Lebron and Wade can share the spotlight for an entire NBA season. Miami is Wade's team and maybe Lebron is okay with that for now, but it will not last. As the season goes on, his ego will take over and there are going to be problems. Lastly, the Heat will be extremely vulnerable in the event of an injury to any of the Super Three. How are they going to keep winning if injury-proned D-Wade goes down and has to be replaced by rookie Da'Sean Butler in the starting lineup, even if just for a few games here and there? So here's what needs to happen for them: A - Lebron, Bosh and Wade have to remain healthy all season. B - they need to set their egos aside and play together as a team ALL season. C - they need to play A LOT of minutes EACH game to minimize the effects of having a very untalented bench. If they can get all three of these things down, they may go 82-0. Personally, I'm not sure if any of these things are even possible on their own, let alone together.

What should he have done?
I think that the best, and classiest, thing that Lebron could have done was sign a short, max deal with the Cavaliers with an ultimatum that he will play there for two or three more seasons and if they can't win anything, he's gone. That puts the pressure on the Cavaliers organization to build a better team around Lebron (which they started doing with the hiring of head coach Byron Scott) and it sets a fire in the belly of Lebron's teammates. Then if they win, Lebron gets all of the glory and recognition, he remains the hometown hero, and possibly moves ahead of Kobe as the NBA's big winner. If they don't win, then it is on the Cavaliers organization and Lebron is free to explore his options scot-free (ideally).
But instead, Lebron decided to run off to South Beach where he can party all year and maybe win some championships as a part of a Super Trio, all the while becoming Public Enemy Number 1 in Cleveland and the rest of the basketball world. It will definitely be sweet to watch them come up short..

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