How LeBron’s Decision to Return to Cleveland Affects the Whole League
July 11th 2014 -- Today will be engrained in NBA history as a day that the landscape of the league changed forever. LeBron James has made his decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, much to the surprise of many league followers. In his well-documented letter to the world, LeBron revealed this decision is more about legacy than basketball; he has proven that he truly cares about the people and the community of Cleveland. However, from a basketball standpoint: this is crazy. The league and its stars looked poised to stay fairly intact without much of a disturbance at the top as recently as 2 days ago. Now, with the game’s best player bolting back to his hometown, all bets are off. According to all the information I’ve gathered thus far it seems that we haven’t seen the most activity taken place just yet. Let’s take a look at how select franchises will be affected by “The Decision 2.0”.
Miami Heat- Hello Miami, welcome to years of irrelevance! The Heat have just lost their star and driving force behind their 4 title runs and it looks like one of his partners in crime is going to follow suit. Chris Bosh is likely going to take Houston up on its max offer contract now that Miami is sinking fast. However, I believe Pat Reilly will try a last ditch effort to recruit Carmelo Anthony, still undecided up till this point, to keep Bosh and a new Big 3 in Miami. This seems unlikely however, and if Bosh leaves, aging Dwyane Wade and company looked poised to become a lottery team for the foreseeable future despite being in a very weak conference. Needless to say, the Heat do not look to be contending for titles any time soon.
Houston Rockets – Now with Chris Bosh seemingly headed to Houston, the Rockets are stuck in a jam if they want to get Bosh and still retain Chandler Parsons, who signed a 3 year, $ 45 million contract with the Mavs that the Rockets can match by Monday. The Rockets will have to shed literally every player’s contract except for Howard and Harden in order to get both players unless they can convince Miami to work a sign and trade for Bosh which is unlikely.
Cleveland- With a new core of LeBron, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Tristian Thompson, and Anderson Varajeo, the Cavs are right back into the discussion of representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals each summer. However, early rumors have linked the Cavs to the T’Wolves in a potential trade that could send star Kevin Love to Cleveland for the rights to Wiggins. This would be risky but buying high on Love could be worth it as a Kyrie-LeBron-Love trio could be a dominant scene for years to come.
New York Knicks- Now with LeBron going home, Carmelo Anthony has been quiet on his next playing destination. It seems to be down to the Bulls and Knicks for Anthony now and if he does have a last second change of heart and goes to Chicago, New York will be left empty handed and with no backup plan. Giving them only a chance at Pau Gasol and maybe Trevor Ariza as spare scraps.
Dallas Mavericks- With the Rockets looking to match Parsons' deal, the Mavs are in a tough spot with LeBron announcing his intentions so soon. Now, instead of the Rockets being pressed for time with the 3-day deal on Parsons almost expiring, the Mavs are now the team in a bad position since they can no longer sign any free agents until they know the Rockets intentions. If Houston does indeed match, the Mavs could at that time be left with all the other top free agents already signed, leaving them also like the Knicks to savage some type of value on the market.
Although the story line will be King James returning home, the underlining impact will be how the league landscape is going to change forever after July 11th. All the teams mentioned are just some of the nearly upwards of 10 teams that can have their roster impacted by this decision. Needleless to say, the NBA will never be the same.