Weighing his OPTions: Lebron James Opts Out of Heat Deal

Lebron could change the NBA landscape once again

Lebron could change the NBA landscape once again

The madness starts now! Lebron James will once again be the main attraction in the circus of NBA Free Agency as he has opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat. Now Lebron James can once again change the entire complexion of the NBA like he did four years ago when he made the infamous decision to leave Cleveland for South Beach.

Does this mean that Lebron James is leaving the Heat? No, but he is sending a clear message. James is putting himself in the best position for himself and the team. By opting out he can take less money and open up more cap space in Miami. However, James has put the pressure on Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade to now take pay cuts. If they both so, James will be back and Miami will have the resources to add more pieces to their talented roster. However, if Bosh and Wade decided not to restructure and keep their high salaries, than James has put himself in position to test the waters of free agency.

Where would he go? New York and Chicago look to be out of the question. New York with their terrible cap space and lack of stars while in Chicago James would always be in the shadow of Jordan. Houston and Cleveland would have the pieces but a lot also depends of Carmelo Anthony.

If Carmelo Anothony decides to take less to play with James, then the two of them could team up somewhere. If Carmelo wants a max contract, then the Anthony James teacup will just be a fantasy. The most interesting place is Cleveland which still remains an interesting option. With a young and talented roster and being James’ hometown team, we could see a reunion in Cleveland. Not to mention there have been strong rumors that the Cavaliers working on a deal with Minnesota by trading the number 1 pick for Kevin Love. If Kevin Love joins the Cavaliers, it would be hard for James to turn down a team with that much young talent.

Even if Cleveland cannot bring in Love, they still have the first pick and could bring in either Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid to entice the King. But no matter what any team does to try to lure Lebron James, it’s up to Lebron where he plays. We know one thing, James will look to go to a team that he feels will be able to win him multiple championships. It’s going to be a crazy summer, but we will be here to bring you the latest on the Lebron James saga. The ball’s in you court Lebron, what are you going to do next?

The Return of the King?

The King returning to his former kingdom

The King returning to his former kingdom

The Cleveland Cavaliers have hit the jackpot. For the third time in four years the dismal franchise will have the number one pick in the NBA Draft. With the most talented draft class in probably the last decade, the Cavaliers could be poised to be a playoff team in the near future. However, the true jackpot may not be in this draft, but possibly in the homecoming of their former savior.

With a strong young nucleus, this years number one pick could be the final key to luring back Lebron James from South Beach. Many Clevelanders might not want their former king to return to Cleveland as the wounds from his departure are still fresh and deep. Still, if Lebron James was to come back the Cavaliers would be favorites to win the title.

It may only be speculation at this point, but Cleveland has put themselves in a great position to entice James. Miami may win a third title this year, but their future is in question. Despite great ownership and a talented roster, the Heat are getting older and may only have one or two true title runs left. Despite this, James may choose to stay in Miami because of the lifestyle it has to offer and the larger market available there rather than Cleveland. Los Angeles and New York are long shots to get James in the future, but at least they provide the market for the Lebron James brand. Even though the end goal will be to attract James back to Cleveland, it will still depend on what Lebron James wants to do. Either way, the Cavaliers have made themselves as attractive a destination as possible. If they can add a legitimate coach, it will be hard to imagine that James could turn down a young talented nucleus with a great head coach. He’s in the business of winning, and that’s a winning formula.

King James may not return to his former empire, but even without James the Cavaliers now have the young pieces to become a competitive basketball team. With a young and upcoming roster they could soon become a perennial contender and maybe even a championship contender. However, in a perfect world the King will return to his people and bring them the championship they so rightfully deserve.

Why Michael Jordan’s legacy is already greater than Lebron James

Throughout these NBA Finals I’ve been getting sick of the constant Lebron James and Michael Jordan debates about who will have the better legacy. While Lebron still has many more chapters to write for his legacy, the Jordan legacy is one of if not the greatest athletic legacy of all time. While these analysts will throw out statistics and try to analytically compare these two icons, Jordan’s legacy goes beyond the basketball court. While this debate will probably never end here are five reasons why Michael Jordan’s legacy is greater than Lebron James will be.

5) College glory

Unlike Lebron, Jordan has a National Championship on his legacy

Unlike Lebron, Jordan has a National Championship on his legacy

This one is a quick and one-sided debate. Since Lebron James never attended college he never had the chance to leave a legacy on college basketball. However, Jordan did. As a freshman, he made the winning shot against Georgetown to win the National Championship in 1982. With Jordan, the Tar Heels helped to build one of the best programs in college basketball which continues today. While Lebron supporters will say that it is more impressive to go from high school to the NBA, Jordan had one of the greatest college basketball careers and has added bonus points to his resume. Only a handful of players have made such an impact in both the NCAA and the NBA, and Jordan is one of them.

4) Hometown Hero

"The Decision" will always be a negative aspect of James' career

“The Decision” will always be a negative aspect of James’ career

Why is Lebron James hated so much? Well when you embarrass your hometown on national television people will tend to think you’re a jerk.  “The Decision”  which aired on June 8, 2o10 on ESPN is one decision that Lebron James wishes he could change. Not necessarily joining the Heat, but how he handled the whole situation. Instead of just having it announced like any other athlete, he decided to torture the Cleveland faithful even more by giving them just a glimmer of hope that he’d return only to take it away in an instant. Also it doesn’t help when you say that you made the decision that morning. Doesn’t look like you put that much effort into it. Personally I don’t think that going to the Heat instead of playing Cleveland should hurt Lebron’s legacy. However, Jordan did stay with one team and did win for the hometown team instead of leaving. For me though I think just how he handled the decision and turn it into a publicity stunt will hurt his legacy more in the long-run then actually leaving Cleveland.

3) Jordan’s impressive 6-0

Jordan's perfect tile record is one thing James will never be able to accomplish

Jordan’s perfect tile record is one thing James will never be able to accomplish

If Michael Jordan was a movie he’d be known as The Lord of the Rings. While he may not have the most rings, there is no question that his perfect NBA title record is unmatched. While you could possibly beat Jordan any other time of the year, when the lights where brightest and it was the final minute of the season, you had no chance. Jordan was clutch, and being able to go to six championships and win six rings in an amazing accomplishment. Heck if Jordan didn’t take off to play baseball he could have probably added another ring or two to his trophy case. Unfortunately for James, his 1 for 3 NBA finals record makes this is an easy win for Jordan. Even if James can pull out a title this season he’ll only would have won 50% of his NBA title shots. Sorry Lebron, Jordan’s got you beat here.

2) His Royal Airness

Jordan is just as big of a winner off the court as on the court.

Jordan is just as big of a winner off the court as on the court.

Jordans. Just saying that jars up the jump man image on the side of a sweet pair of sneakers. The “Air Jordan” brand has become a world-wide icon and cements Micheal Jordan as the most marketable athlete in history. James doesn’t have his own brand and will probably never come close to establishing a brand like Jordan has. Beyond the Jordan brand, while James will probably make more money off of endorsements then Jordan, his airness did create the market for modern-day stars. Jordan was a trailblazer for sports marketing and has allowed for athletes to get the endorsements they do to this day. Jordan’s impact is incredible when you realize how he’s become integrated into modern-day culture. Even today he is still a marketing juggernaut even after stepping off the hardwood more than a decade ago. Think about it Jordans, McDonald’s, Hanes, Gatorade, Coca Cola, Ball Park Franks, Wheaties and Chevrolet. Chances are you still have a favorite MJ commercial you remember and that you’ve seen all of his commercials from these brands. As for James, his only commercials are with Nike and his most memorable one is when he had this pity party commercial because people now looked at him as the villain. Sorry James MJ wins with impact, volume, variety, and doesn’t whine when it comes to his commercials. Also the man played with Bug Bunny in Space Jam! Seriously every kid I know has seen that movie. Have you played basketball with a world-famous cartoon character? Nope didn’t think so Lebron.  Click here for a trip down memory lane.

1 ) Coming through in the clutch

Now one was a better closer then 23

Now one was a better closer then 23

Game 7, clock about to expire, your team needs a basket who do you give the ball to? I’m betting that if you could choose any player to take the winning shot, it would be Jordan. This basket at the end of the 99 Finals is one of those moments when Jordan came through in the clutch. In the face of adversity Jordan always seemed to come up big. Whether it was game winning shots, dunks, or being able to overcome the flu (click here), Jordan’s career was filled with coming through in the biggest moments. James, on the other hand, has come up short in big spots. Sure he had the game winner against the Pacers this year, but other than the game winner in Cleveland a few years ago what has he done? Not only has Jordan created more clutch moments but, but he’s done it on the biggest stage in the finals. Has Lebron made any memorable plays in the finals? Jordan has, heck you could have a highlight show of all his memorable moments in the finals. In the end there is no question that when you want a game winning basket, you’re giving the rock to Jordan.

While I still find it difficult to pick between these two players, they’re both very different players in very different eras, in the end of the Jordan versus James debate it is clear that Jordan is the clear winner. Sure Lebron could break his scoring records and even title wins, but at the end of the day no player had a greater impact on the game of basketball then Michael Jordan. While statistically both these men are very close, and you could argue Lebron is superior, when you combine all of the other factors MJ is the clear victor. No athlete has had such an impact both on and off the court as Jordan has. While Lebron may truly end up being the king, there is no question that Jordan will always be the greatest.

Thunderstruck: Durant loses his thunder

Once again Durant will be haunted by another season without a title

Once again Durant will be haunted by another season without a title

Kevin Durant is one of the best players in the NBA today, period. However, he can never seem to get out of the shadows and into the limelight. When drafted, he was the number two pick after Greg Oden, and at the time considered the second best college basketball. Fast forward to 2013, and once again Durant is still number two behind the King, Lebron James. Unfortunately for Durant, no matter how many points he scores, or how many wins he brings to Oklahoma City he will never truly be inducted into the NBA’s elite until he wins a championship. It’s unfortunate, but even Lebron James went through the same thing. Lebron would have never been considered one of the greats until he won a championship. Now that the King has accomplished that, and will probably add another trophy to his hardware this season, he  is without question considered one of the greatest. For Durant he must win a championship to solidify his greatness. We can now say that Lebron James is truly one of the greats, however we can’t say that about Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, or Dwight Howard because they don’t have a ring. Is it unfair? Yes, but winning a championship is the finally piece of cementing a lasting legacy in the NBA. Look at Charles Barkley, undoubtedly one of the greatest basketball players ever, but will never be considered one of the best because he doesn’t have a ring.

Until Durant has a ring, he will be excluded from the NBAs elite club

Until Durant has a ring, he will be excluded from the NBA elite club 

The thing that worries me is that Durant has embraced the fact that he’s the Thunder’s star. He’s to0 eager to pass to his teammates in big situations instead of manning up and proclaiming that this is my team, I’m taking these important shots! Listen, I’m not saying that Durant didn’t have a good playoff series, but if he wants to be an elite player in this league he needs to step up his game especially in difficult situations. If it’s the end of a game and the Thunder need a big shot, he shouldn’t be looking at his teammates to take those shots, but demand the ball. By winning a ring, it proves that Durant overcame his trial by fire and deserves to be included in basketball’s elite club. Without question, Kevin Durant is one of the best in the game today. But, if he wants to be an NBA legend he needs to take his game to the next level and bring home a ring to Oklahoma City. This reminds me of a great quote from the Sandlot; “heroes get remembered but legends never die”. For Kevin Durant he can no longer be complacent with being the second best player in the NBA. He needs a ring if he wants to be one of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood!