As we know, LeBron James has ultimately decided to opt out from the final two years of his contract with the Miami Heat, making him an unrestricted free agent. Inevitably this was bound to happen, as the King wants his pay. But will he re-sign with the disgruntled Heat organization or will he reign supreme with another franchise? With all speculation hinting towards LeBron staying in Miami, it’s still possible that he takes his talents somewhere else.
James will most likely remain in South Beach to finish his illustrious career with the Heat, but sports fans have the right to fantasize. If he can surround himself with a young core that has deep playoff potential, then he may find continued success.
Here are three destinations that LeBron should seriously consider taking his talents to in his quest for a third championship and beyond. Somewhere where he can get not one, not two, not, well, you get the point.
The first destination that comes to mind here is Akron, Ohio. It’s the birthplace of LeBron Raymone James and the team that he started his career with in the Cavaliers. In the first seven years of his career, James saw profound success with Cleveland winning the MVP and even making a trip to the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately, the Cavaliers were not successful in LeBron’s first run at championship gold. In fact, they got swept. But it was a learning and humbling experience.
As of right now, the only thing keeping owner Dan Gilbert and Cleveland’s dismal hopes alive will be a young tandem of star point guard Kyrie Irving and whoever Cleveland decides to take with the No. 1 pick (that is of course if they decided to keep it). Oh, and LeBron did promise Cleveland that he would bring them a championship.
So with Miami out of the picture, Cleveland seems destined to be the prime destination right now for James. And what could be their icing on the cake is LeBron’s wife Savannah James posting a picture of Akron, Ohio on Instagram. Hint of foreshadowing? I think so!
With the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) intact, James would make more money staying with the Heat than leaving. If I had to speculate, the most Miami can offer LeBron would be somewhere around five years, $127 million. Other teams are limited to offering a four-year contract maxing out at $94.8 million. If James were to leave, then he would be leaving approximately $32 million on the table. It’s a similar situation to Dwight Howard when he left the Los Angeles Lakers for the Houston Rockets this past offseason.
With the Hornets, they have a young and energetic organization led by point guard Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson. They may be playoff ready, but they are one juggernaut away from a championship.
In steps LeBron James.
Though LeBron would be leaving more money on the table if he were to sign in Charlotte, it’s not always about the money. Just look at 2014 NBA champion Tim Duncan who opted in to the final year of his contract with the San Antonio Spurs. That’s loyalty. With King James, it may just be about royalty!
Last, but certainly not least, comes arguably the most attractive destination of them all. The nation’s capital, Washington D.C.
The Wizards boasted a successful 44-38 record this past season and found themselves in the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2008. But unfortunately, a John Wall led Wizards team was not enough to get Washington over the hump. Like Charlotte, though, they are just one LeBron James away from contending once again.
The Wizards have a little over $43 million in guaranteed salary next year, which means they’ll enter the offseason with somewhere around $20 million in cap space.
Because of the looming extension for Bradley Beal, this could be one of the last offseasons that Washington actually has the room to sign a max player outright. The Wizards can most certainty put together an awfully compelling sales pitch for James based on their young talent. This may just be a match made in heaven!
Michael Jordan wasn’t enough to resurrect this team, but maybe a tandem of the big three Wall, Beal and James will be.
While LeBron still has some time to think about his next career move, we can just sit back, relax and enjoy; we’re in for a treat. The Decision 2.0 is upon us!