5 Factors That Control LeBron James’s Future With Miami Heat
Factors That Control LeBron James's Fate in South Beach
The NBA season has yet to start, and the rumors are already swirling around the association. GMs across the country are already financially preparing their teams for a terrific free agency class in 2014. Among the possible free agents are Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and of course LeBron James. This will be an intriguing season as teams free up cap space, make trades, and do whatever possible to position themselves to sign as many big names as the salary cap will allow them.
Out of any team, the Miami Heat have the most to lose. Each member of the "Big 3" has the option to become a free agent next summer. Although the success of the "Big 3" has been tremendous in South Beach, the experiment would be considered a failure if it lasted only four seasons. The scrutiny that the Heat and GM Pat Riley have faced since signing James, Bosh and Wade has never been seen before. The first season was a "failure" because they they fell to the Dallas Mavericks in the finals. Even after consecutive titles, the "Big 3" era has yet to quite critics or be considered a "success".
There is one piece of the "Big 3" that every teams wants, and that is King James. It is not a matter of money because all offers will be max contracts for James. The only thing that interests James are titles. He left the Cleveland Cavaliers because he did not like their championship chances. What would stop him from doing that to Miami?
Riley will have his hands full with the same old questions about James all season, and he will have many restless nights worrying about keeping the best player on his team. Not all of it rests on Riley's shoulders though -- there are five important factors that control James's fate in Miami.
5. 2014-2015 Championship Odds
Win or lose, there is no doubt that James will be looking at the 2014-15 championship chances for Miami. Riley will need to be ready to make some quick decisions to keep James in South Beach, especially if the Heat do not win the title. James wants rings, and Riley has to prove that Miami can keep winning them.
4. Supporting Cast
Any team is only as good as their bench. A solid supporting cast is as important as the starting five. Miami has had a decent bench the last two seasons with players such as Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Shane Battier and Norris Cole. Riley will need to create a strong bench early next summer to entice James and prove to him that all the pieces are in place.
3. Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh has always been the odd man out of the "Big 3", but his success plays a vital role in the success of Miami. Bosh had a sub-par playoffs this past season and the Heat nearly bit the bullet because of it. Miami will need him to be at his best this season as they go for a three-peat and Riley looks to keep the "Big 3" intact for one more year. If Bosh does not improve this season, James will be looking for a new home.
2. Dwyane Wade's Health
Dwyane Wade is James's best friend in South Beach. The two are always seen laughing with one another, hanging out at award shows together and being an explosive duo on the court. Wade's health has been a big concern though. The veteran guard has struggled with knee issues, and his durability is a big question. A healthy Wade is currently Miami and Riley's best friend. A healthy Wade will make it very hard for James to part ways with his best friend. Not to mention, a healthy Wade and James are virtually unbeatable.
1. Three-Peat or Bust
If the Heat win a third straight championship this season, James is all but a lock to remain in South Beach. Essentially, it is a three-peat or bust for the "Big 3" era. If Miami fails to three-peat, Riley will dismantle the "Big 3" and look for a new combination. I hate to say it, but no ring and James buys a one way ticket out of Miami. The Heat win the title, and all the talk will move to the 2015 free agency market.