LeBron Eyes The Clippers
When Carmelo Anthony decided he wanted out of his contract with the Knicks and out of New York, it was pretty much expected. After all, the Knicks are a terrible team, they have a new coach, new team president and a really good chance to be bad for at least the next three years. When LeBron James announced that he too was opting out of his deal in Miami, that caught me off guard. LeBron “took his talents to South Beach” four years ago and since then he’s won 2 MVP’s and taken the Heat to the NBA Finals in each of his four seasons there. If he’s looking for individual and team success as well as a huge paycheck, it seems like Miami did all of that for him, so why leave?
That’s the million dollar question–actually about a $100 million one. The decision seems to indicate that James doesn’t think the Heat can maintain that status, and even thought he’s in his prime, if Dwyane Wade and the rest of the supporting cast aren’t, then the chances of Miami getting back to and winning the Finals again have diminished greatly. James says what all players say, that it’s all about winning championships. But I think in his case it really is. He knows that a) he’s already made enough money to last 3 lifetimes and he has plenty of top earning years ahead, and b) if he truly wants to be considered one of the best all-time players, if not THE best, he has to have rings, and lots of them.
So King James has decided that the best chance for him to earn more jewelry is to “take his talents elsewhere.” But where? The teams that are being thrown around the most are, in no particular order, Atlanta, Houston, L.A. Lakers, L.A. Clippers and Chicago. The Mavericks and Cavaliers have also been tossed into the mix, but their chances aren’t very realistic. One of the keys for James to have playmates. As good as he is he knows he needs support, just like he got with Bosh and Wade. Of the above choices I think the best fit and best chance LeBron has of getting right back into the Finals is….the Clippers.
And hey what’s not to like there? The Los Angeles market, huge for all of the endorsement deals that James thrives on, and what about all the potential homes he could buy with awesome ocean and mountain view? On top of that he can team up with one of his very best friends. The word is that James would love to play with Carmelo, but the truth is Chris Paul is a closer pal. They were in each others weddings and Paul is godfather to LeBron’s son. That’s tight. Putting LeBron in the lineup with Paul and Blake Griffin would be a step up from Wade and Bosh, but the downside is the Clippers play in the West, which is a WAY tougher route to the Finals than the East where Miami cruised to the finals with little competition.
On top of all of that, the Clips will have a new top dog in former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who would love to lavish the league’s best player in riches in his first year as owner. I’m pretty sure LeBron could get a few million shares of Microsoft just for meeting with Ballmer. Oh, and let’s not forget LeBron has always admired Clippers coach Doc Rivers. So there it is, done deal. The West gets a lot tougher than it already is, and the Mavs chances of getting back to the Finals fall below the chances of Mark Cuban dropping out of Shark Tank…which is zero.