Before the Miami Heat‘s game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, an article written by ESPN’s own Brian Windhorst was released describing a likely scenario in which LeBron James opts out of his contract this summer with Miami and signs with the Clippers to play with longtime friend Chris Paul. This of course would require the Clippers giving up something substantial in a sign-and-trade scenario for the reigning MVP which would most likely be All-Star forward Blake Griffin. Would this be a better situation for James than what Miami could offer him this upcoming summer during free agency? No way.
As ideal as it would seem to have two of the three top players in the NBA on the same team, if the Clippers were to acquire James they would have to give up a lot in order for the cap situation to work. The Clippers only have five players coming off the books for them this summer with the contracts of Darren Collison, Lou Amundson, Ryan Hollins, Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens. None of these players’ contracts are substantial, so little to no cap space will be free up following their potential releases. What this means for the Clippers i, that in order to sign James this summer, they would have give up several key players — players who have given them tons of depth and helped them rise to become the seventh best team in the league.
Without the depth that has made this Clippers team so terrifying, James would definitely have to reconsider the possibility of being paired with just one superstar (Paul) in Los Angeles compared to being able to play with two superstars (Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade) in Miami.
Miami’s cap situation this summer will allow most of their contracts to come off the books. This is good for Miami in the sense that if they can convince James, Bosh and Wade to take pay cuts for the good of the team, Pat Riley will be able to bring in other veterans who want to play for cheap with the greatest player on the planet. James would be a fool if he left for Los Angeles, plain and simple.