LeBron James – “The Chosen One” – now has two NBA championships to his credit after defeating the San Antonio Spurs, and will be chasing a third ring in what could potentially be his last season with the Miami Heat. The 28-year old James is now a 4-time NBA MVP and the comparisons to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant will always be a topic discussion, but let’s look at the immediate future in Miami. The Big 3 are all under contract for the 2013-2014 and let’s assume that they win another title, because LeBron is just that good.
If Miami’s core group is already under contract then how does that affect this offseason? All the major markets will be positioning themselves to get a shot at LeBron in the summer of 2014 especially both franchises in Los Angeles, Cleveland and of course, Miami. After next season Chris Bosh will be 32 years old and past his prime, Dwyane Wade will be 34 and LeBron will need some new running mates. Or will he? Although Bosh has flashes of brilliance, his is not always reliable and Dwyane Wade is just getting old. Will Miami still be able to take down proven formidable opponents such as the Indiana Pacers and the new look Brooklyn Nets? The bottom line is not whether Wade and Bosh are physically able to still compete at a high level, but will LeBron still want to play with them?
A return to Cleveland for James is intriguing especially given the talent they have put together. Kyrie Irving is emerging as one of the NBA’s top point guards after averaging 22.5 PPG and 5.9 APG at the tender age of 21. The surprise #1 pick in this year’s draft, Anthony Bennett, has the potential to be an NBA superstar but only time will tell how the 20-year old adjusts to the NBA. A huge wildcard for Cleveland is the signing of Andrew Bynum whose commitment and health are both major questions for the Cavaliers. If he can stay healthy and ball then Cleveland could be a lot of fun to watch with Irving on the perimeter, Bennett at power forward and two 7-footers on the inside with Bynum and rookie Tyler Zeller. Cleveland had very little to offer LeBron just one year ago, but now have a roster that could potentially bring “The Chosen One” back to Cleveland.
The more sexy choice for LeBron is the Los Angeles Lakers. They could potentially bring in not only James but also Carmelo Anthony to play alongside Kobe Bryant in 2014-2015. Although that would be a lot of fun to watch is it necessarily what LeBron and Carmelo would want in regard to legacy? Look at this way: any team with Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant is the obvious favorite to win an NBA championship. Kobe will have passed Jordan and Lebron would possibly have his fourth titled by then. After the retirement of Kobe (assuming he will actually retire soon), then the Lakers are set up with two NBA legends and will have room to bring in that third key component.
It would be amazing to see LeBron James play in the spotlight of Los Angeles, but I think the world will respect LeBron James much more if he returns to his home state and takes care of unfinished business.