Would LeBron James Leaving the Miami Heat Be Good for the NBA?

By Dylan Hughes
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2010, LeBron James wanted to experience free agency after his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers weren’t capable of winning a title no matter how much he did for them. We all watched the unnecessarily long show on ESPN in anticipation to see where James would land. He ultimately decided to take his talents to South Beach and team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and boy has it worked out. James and the Miami Heat have been to the NBA Finals in each of the three years the “Big 3” has been together, winning two NBA Championships. Well, at the end of this season, LeBron will be a free agent once again, and even though the season is far from over we all secretly can’t wait to see what he does and where he goes. Would it be good for the NBA if James left Miami and took his talents elsewhere?

Including worldwide fans, the NBA is probably the most profitable sport in the United States, and David Stern and the boys upstairs aren’t complaining. They do love their money, and when three stars like James, Wade, and Bosh all team up in one city upper management is practically showering in money as ratings have shot up over the past three seasons. No one is complaining now, but it seems the NBA made the Heat out to be villains back in 2010 when it all began. With the Heat losing in the Finals to the Dallas Mavericks, almost everyone but Heat fans were happy. LeBron went to Miami to win titles (not 1, not 2, not 3…), and they lost in their very first season together. Well, it seems the Heat won over the NBA, and after two straight titles they’re pretty much best friends. It’s been a great ride and all, but LeBron leaving Miami may actually benefit the NBA.

One thing that could push LeBron into leaving would be seeing what Wade will do. On June 30, Wade will decide whether or not he wants to opt out of the last two years of his contract. If Wade leaves — even though he is descending in his career with the knee problems — he can still play solid minutes. Even if Bosh stays, the Heat would have to reel in a star shooting guard to fill the shoes of Wade, but would LeBron want to play with anyone else? He teamed up with Wade and Bosh, and I feel like he’d rather leave than wait and see who they sign.

Being a free agent seems exciting since you get to go somewhere new, play with new players, play in a different atmosphere, and see who wants to pay you the most money. There really isn’t anything bad to say about free agency, unless you make the wrong decision on a team, of course. I feel like being a free agent is a desirable option for James because there are so many teams out there that just need that one player that can turn them around into a championship contending team, and he can be that guy looking at what the Cavs were with him, and what they were after him.

No matter where James goes I think it would benefit the NBA. If he goes to a small market team, perhaps he has more fans than haters like in Cleveland, and more fans means more James-related merchandise sales. If he goes to a large market team, he makes that team even more popular which of course means more money.

One team rumored to go after James is the New York Knicks, and with Carmelo Anthony on the way out that rumor could turn into reality next summer. New York is one of the largest large market teams in the NBA, and with a player like LeBron in New York, future commissioner Adam Silver and his buddies would be living the life.

James wanting to go to the Knicks would make sense as with James they are probably the only team that could compete with the Indiana Pacers in the East. I mean, why would James want to go out West and deal with all those great teams when he could continue to dominate in the Eastern Conference — for the most part — and only have to deal with teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs in the Finals? Also, I’m sure the Heat can stay above water with or without James on the roster.

In the end, LeBron moving on from South Beach could actually be good for the NBA, despite how much success he’s had in Miami the past three seasons.

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