Everyone remembers the last time LeBron James was a free agent. His decision, which was broadcast on ESPN, ripped out the hearts of Cleveland Cavaliers fans and turned him into a villain.
The villain act didn’t last long – most people got over their hate and LeBron matured after losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. Now, there is talk of another decision for LeBron. In 2014, his contract will be up and he will have the opportunity to sign with any team in the league. And let’s be honest – who wouldn’t want LeBron on their team?
Although LeBron hasn’t spoken about what he will do during the next offseason, I believe he will stay put in Miami. A lot of fans seem to think he will leave simply because he left Cleveland, but things have changed since 2010.
LeBron wasn’t a champion in Cleveland. After he was drafted in 2003, he made the Cavaliers too good too fast. It prevented them from picking up talented players in the draft’s lottery. Cleveland’s front office failed to bring in players that could take some of the load off LeBron’s back.
In 2007, LeBron led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals, where they were promptly swept by the San Antonio Spurs. The supporting cast that LeBron dragged through the playoffs helped make the 2007 Cavaliers one of the worst teams ever to make it to the finals.
A supporting cast is something Miami has given LeBron. Free agents have flocked to the Heat looking for championship rings and LeBron has delivered. Not only that, but Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are two of James’ best friends. The NBA is a business at heart, but winning with friends is something every player dreams of.
The Heat have won the last two NBA titles and their team is favored to win it all again next year. For LeBron to leave after next season, things would have to go pretty poorly for Miami. Still, LeBron hasn’t had trouble convincing players to join him in Miami. Would one bad year really make him forget the two championships?
If LeBron does decide to explore other options in free agency, a lot needs to happen for the Golden State Warriors to be at the top of his list. Last season, the Warriors were the darling of the NBA. They overachieved during the regular season and stunned the Denver Nuggets in the playoffs.
LeBron isn’t going to leave Miami for a team like that. The stage has been set – now the Dubs need to deliver. Next season is going to be considered a failure if the Warriors aren’t contenders. Andre Iguodala is a great addition to a team led by Stephen Curry and David Lee.
Andre Iguodala is the key to LeBron coming to the Warriors. Iguodala is a great all-around player. He can score, pass, rebound, and defend. LeBron James is a much better player, but Iguodala plays similarly.
If Iguodala succeeds with the Warriors, LeBron might see it as a team built perfectly for him. Curry and Klay Thompson are elite outside shooters. David Lee is a great scoring big man who can pass. Andrew Bogut is the 7-footer with great defense that Miami has been missing.
If the Warriors look great and stay healthy, it might be possible to convince LeBron to come to the bay.
Another problem the Warriors could run into is disposing of Iguodala. LeBron and Iguodala could not work on the same team because they play the same role. Also, the Warriors would not have the money to sign James if Iguodala is still on the team. Iguodala is still a great player, so the Warriors probably wouldn’t have trouble getting someone to trade for him.
Getting LeBron would be great, but dumping Iguodala so quickly might look bad to NBA fans. Stephen Curry, who is great friends with Iguodala, might also be upset. If the Warriors are contenders with Iguodala, they might be content to keep the team as it is.