The Decision II
June 26, 2014
It seems like we just went through this with LeBron James. But it was four years ago when “The Decision” was made by James. The decision to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami with the Heat. It is somewhat different this time around but there are decisions to be made. It is all starting up again because James informed the Heat on Tuesday that he’s exercising the early-termination option in his contract.
When James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh conspired to team up in Miami four years ago, they set it up to be in lock step with an opt-out window after the fourth year of the six-year deals they signed back then.
All three opted out of their prior contracts in 2010 and became free agents. James, after intense courtships with the Nets, Knicks, Heat, Clippers, Bulls and Cavs, James elected to join Wade and Bosh in Miami.
The decision paid dividends as The Big Three made four straight Finals appearances and captured two championships. Whatever happens now, the Big Three experiment in Miami should be viewed by history as a success.
Dwayne Wade & LeBron James
But it is not a secret that James covets more titles to solidify his lofty place among the greatest who have ever played. The question he is asking himself now concerns the potential for Miami to win more championships with the current makeup of the roster.
There has been a great deal of talk about each of the Big Three opting out of contract and taking less money to return to the Heat. This would generate more money for Miami to sign additional talent to an aging roster. As of now, Wade and Bosh have yet to make a decision. Each is owed approximately $42 million over the next two seasons. It has been reported that The Big Three will be meeting within a week to plot their futures. One has to wonder if they are as united as they were four years ago. In 2010, all three were without question worthy of max deals. Now, Wade is 32 and struggled physically this past season. Bosh’s impact on the Finals was minimal, but he’s 30 and there are plenty of teams with cap room who’d set the market for him at the max. Given Wade’s physical condition, it’s hard to imagine a max market for him. Since four years is the most he can get from another team anyway, it makes sense for Wade to opt out and re-sign with Miami for four years so he gets the $42 million owned to him over a more reasonable period.
One scenario being floated in the media is having the Heat adding another superstar. Like a Carmelo Anthony. It is not a secret that James and Anthony are friends. It there was to be a Big Four, all four of them would have to be willing to sign a deal starting at about $15 million a year. That is a big huge pay cut for all four of them.
Still, I would not rule it out.
What are James’ other options. Other than the Lakers, the teams with cap room to sign James outright are not in markets that would compel him to leave Miami. Even with the Lakers, would teaming up with 35-year-old Kobe Bryant and 40-year-old Steve Nash be a better situation than staying with the Big Three, especially when you consider he could get only a four-year, $96 million deal as opposed to the five-year, $129 million deal Miami could offer at the full max?
Other possibilities include the Clippers, Rockets, and Bulls. Again, he would have to take a pay cut and leave his buddies. One other possibility is the Cavaliers. This is an intriguing scenario since he bolted from the franchise back in 2010. Cleveland with Kyrie Irving and this year’s No. 1 pick, has to have entered James’ mind.
It’s one of the many aspects of Decision II that James will have to weigh. He has plenty of options, all of them with opportunities and consequences. And I did not even get into the public relations hit he would take if he leaves Miami on yet another title chase. The legendary stars of the NBA showed loyalty to their teams and hung around long enough to build title teams. Most recently, Tim Duncan. This list includes Kobe, Michael, Magic, Larry, and Kareem. I think James if fully aware of this and also think he will stay in Miami. But it will be an interesting few weeks prior to Decision II.
NBA Draft And The Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets have the ninth pick in this week’s NBA draft. I have checked out some mock drafts and it looks like the franchise will end up with either Doug McDermott, Nik Stauskas, or Adreian Payne.
I think each could help the Hornets in different ways. It is not a secret that the team needs offense and all three can put the ball in the hoop.
McDermott, a power forward out of Creighton, was an offensive machine in college. He can score from anywhere on the court. Defense could be a weakness and Charlotte is a defense first team. Stauskas, a shooting guard from Michigan, is a great shooter who got better and better this past season in creating his own shot. His presence would aid the team’s half court offense dramatically. Payne, a power forward out of Michigan State, would be a nice fit. He has an all-around game and demonstrated excellent leadership skills during another NCAA run made by the Spartans. He can defend and his offense improved dramatically in 2014.
My sleeper pick is TJ Warren out of NC State. He will be a small forward in the NBA. Warren is a natural scorer and can post up in the pain. He plays hard and will likely improve on a yearly basis.