What Might Happen
By: Connor Lenahan
Over the past few hours every sports related Twitter and blog I follow has exploded over what appears to be the final moments before LeBron James announces his plans for this upcoming season.
For years now people have been playing up the idea that LeBron would leave Miami to return to Cleveland where he played the first seven seasons of his career. I did not put any credibility into this theory. There was no reason for LeBron to leave a team designed to win titles. Then a 2-2 stretch in the NBA Finals the past four years combined with a sudden desire to get paid changed my mind.
When looking around at the suddenly crumbling footing he was standing upon in Miami, alongside the fact that, despite being one of the best players in the NBA for the past 11 years and unquestionedly the best for the past eight or more he was never once the highest paid player on his own team. This is troubling considering, you know, he was the best player on his team and one of the best players in history.
Over the past few days there have been many signs that Cleveland is making a legitimate push. Trading Jarrett Jack for cap space was huge. This opened up a coveted max contract slot for LeBron. Suddenly Cleveland was entirely in play. Reports came out that LeBron made calls to some veterans about joining him in a non-Miami locale. Every time something new came out I started to believe more and more that a return to Akron was imminent.
Now, I cannot prove that LeBron is going to Cleveland. I am not in any circle that would allow for me to have access to this information before the man in question speaks the specifics into a live microphone. That doesn’t stop me from imagining what is going to happen when he finally decides to come home.
Note: I’m in 100% belief that I’m going to need an updated Cavaliers jersey next week. No way he’s coming back at this point.
Let’s just have some fun and assume LeBron will be moving home this fall. Here are some possible dominos that can/will fall, thus changing every single bit of the NBA in a matter of hours.
If LeBron goes to the Cavaliers then he will be joining a roster headlined at the moment by Kyrie Irving and 2014 #1 Pick Andrew Wiggins. Little has been made of the problem that LeBron and Wiggins both occupy the same role on the floor. In a backwards sort of way, LeBron makes one of the most hyped prospects in NBA history into a trade piece before he even plays a game.
That trade chip will not be trumped by anyone. That’s why there’s a good chance that Cleveland will take a shot at creating a somehow more terrifying lineup by shipping Wiggins to Minnesota for Kevin Love. So now Cleveland has James, Irving, Love, and a weak Eastern Conference that no longer has a kingpin in Miami. Minnesota has Wiggins, Zach LaVine, and hope that they can build something special.
This leads us to Chris Bosh, who no longer has a reason to re-up in South Beach. He takes the money and runs to Houston, joining Dwight Howard to create a powerhouse front court in basketball production and comedy. Suddenly Houston becomes stronger, and they were a tough team already.
Dwyane Wade probably goes back to Miami and finishes his career as the best player in Heat history spending his entire career there. Sadly, he’s not ever going to return to the Wade of old, who was transcendent.
So that leaves Carmelo Anthony, who can make three decisions. 1. Take the absurd amount of money New York is offering – $129 Million – and stay home. He doesn’t approach this figure elsewhere. 2. He heads out to Los Angeles, joins the roster of Kobe Bryant and Julius Randle (seriously, that’s pretty much it), and potentially creates a scoring machine if Bryant can come back from his knee injury. 3. He goes to Chicago and wins an NBA Title. They are Carmelo away from walking to a one seed in the East even with the Super Cavs. I would pay an extremely large quantity of American currency to have this happen.
So suddenly you have the entire framework of the NBA upset. everything would be chaos.
Sure, every bit of this is contingent upon an infinite number of breaks going the right way and deals being made, but it’s all possible.
Just take a second to imagine it. LeBron is the first domino. It’s incredible to think what might happen next.
Connor Lenahan (@ConnorLenahan) is a sophomore at Boston University, majoring in journalism.