This summer Heat megastar LeBron James will become the most coveted free agent in the history of the NBA if not all of professional sports. Speculation has several teams as possible destinations, a list that includes the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and the Heat themselves.
As the Clash might ask, should he go or should he stay in . . . Miami?
Five reasons why James and the Heat would be a good match:
5. The grass really is greener in Miami than almost anywhere else in the country. Other than the Marlins, what’s not to like there?
4. If another championship ring is his primary motivation, then the weaker Eastern Conference is the place to be right now.
3. There’s something to be said for stability especially at his age. He knows what to expect from head coach Erik Spoelstra, president Pat Riley and team owner Mickey Arison, all with whom he has positive relationships.
2. His legacy as a champion and an all-time great has been made in Miami and is firmly etched in NBA history. Leave and there’s no place to go except down.
1. Whether one likes the way it came off or not, it’s difficult to argue that he made a wise career move four years ago. If Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade decide to come back with him, there’s no good reason to leave now. Great bands don’t break up. They continue to make hits together until they collapse on stage.
And five reasons why they wouldn’t be:
5. Loyalty? Where does that get you these days? It’s 2014, pal.
4. While Miami has obvious benefits, his brand has limited growth potential there.
3. Been there, done that. What more can he possibly accomplish in South Florida that he hasn’t done already?
2. As he gets older, the load should get lighter. Except that the well-worn Wade no longer is capable of singular dominance on a regular basis, which leaves him as the go-to guy far too often.
1. Bosh is 30, Wade is 32, Ray Allen is 38 and none of them is getting any younger. If James knows what’s good for him, he’ll hitch his future to young, talented nucleus whose best basketball is ahead of it.
Bottom line: If the Heat win a third consecutive league title this season, the big three would have no choice but to remain intact in the midst of a historic championship run. Would they accept home team discounts in order to upgrade the roster around them? Otherwise, the front office would be hard-pressed to add experienced talent in future years. In that case, James might want to consider a fresh start in a major market.