By Andrew Fisher @AndrewFisherRS on June 16, 2014
The Miami Heat just suffered a crushing Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Many people believe this is the end for the Big Three in South Beach, mainly because LeBron James can opt out of his contract here in a few weeks.
If James does opt out, the basketball world will explode with speculation. Here are his five most likely destinations in 2014-15:
The Hornets are a big time darkhorse team to land James, but never say never. They've got the funds to pay him much more than he's making now, and Michael Jordan has made it clear that his team will try to make another splash in free agency this summer. But overall, it's hard to see LeBron signing on to literally play in MJ's shadow.
If the Rockets clear some cap space, don't rule them out of the James sweepstakes. They're reportedly gearing up to make a run at another star to create their own Big Three, so why not try and add the biggest star in the league?
James was tied to the Knicks briefly back in 2010 prior to taking his talents to South Beach. If Carmelo opts out and goes elsewhere, you'd have to think Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher will make a pitch to LeBron. He wouldn't be in championship contention for another couple years in the Big Apple, but a short 2014-15 season might just be in line to rest his body after four straight Finals runs.
You know that Pat Riley is going to do whatever he can to keep James in Miami. Whether it's a pay increase or bringing in more stars, Riles will have to do something big. This Heat team as its currently constructed is not going to win another championship.
Going back to Cleveland would be the best move for LBJ's career, hands down. It would lessen the amount of hate directed toward him, and it would bury those nasty memories of his departure in 2010. The Cavs have a year or two of rebuilding to do, but with Kyrie Irving already on board and the No. 1 pick at their disposal in this year's draft -- Cleveland is actually a fairly attractive destination compared to others.
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