With all of the speculation about Carmelo Anthony joining the Chicago Bulls as a free agent, it’s become forgotten that LeBron James can opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat as well.
In the summer of 2010, the Bulls took a big gamble by clearing cap space in order to sign big name free agents including James. The Bulls even went so far as to trade fan favorite Kirk Hinrich to the Washington Wizards just to free up extra salary. The Bulls struck out on the James sweepstakes and instead signed a trio of former Utah Jazz players including Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, and Ronnie Brewer. Chicago went on to reach the Eastern Conference Finals once in 2011, while James’ Heat have reached the finals three times, winning it twice.
Although the Heat appear to be the clear cut championship contenders in the east, it is clear that their window is slowly closing. They lack serious depth due to the large contracts of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Wade has also shown that he is no longer capable of playing a full 82-game season, while Bosh is busy hoisting three-point shots instead of playing in the paint. If James wants to win more championships, opting out of his deal to join the Bulls would be a great idea.
When the Bulls pursued James in 2010, they had small forward Luol Deng playing his position. But with Deng now out of Chicago, James could be easily inserted into the lineup that will consist of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, and Taj Gibson. That roster would be more than enough to propel the Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference, and the entire NBA for many years to come.
However, the only question that remains will be if the Bulls want to take the risk of possibly striking out on James a second time. James has already made it known that he does not want to play for a cold weather city, which was one of his reasons for bolting from the Cleveland Cavaliers to Miami in the first place. Nevertheless, if James wants to win as he claims, he would give the Bulls serious consideration this summer.
With the Bulls already planning to try to add Anthony this summer, they might as well first try to add James. It wouldn’t hurt Chicago if he declined again, but if he opts out of his contract, expect the Bulls to make another run at James this summer.