LeBron James is a wanted man.
The NBA’s most prestigious free agent will be the subject of newspaper columns, sports magazines, and online blogs until his decision is made.
James will go wherever he wants. He does what he wants, and centers his life around himself. That’s not a bad thing considering the superstar status he’s come to live with, but it suggests that LeBron re-signing with Cleveland is probably not going to happen.
James’ signing will bring one city to its feet, while dropping many others to their knees in disgust.
The suitor list for LeBron will include every team in the NBA, but New Jersey and Cleveland seem to be the front-runners for LeBron.
The Nets and Mikhail Prokhorov were thought to have suffered a damaging blow during the NBA lottery. Going into the lottery drawings, New Jersey owned better than a 25 percent chance to draw the first pick in the draft. They would then get their shot at Evan Turner or John Wall, but, instead, they drew the third pick.
Losing out on the top two prospects in the 2010 NBA draft could hurt, but it’s unlikely that that will keep them from winning LeBron over. It’s definitely a loss, because they would have added another piece to package in a trade for a better, complementary player to play alongside Lebron.
But the Nets should not be so insecure. Devin Harris was thought to be a possible star when he was playing in Dallas, and Brook Lopez is a rising, young star. Those two could provide LeBron with the sidekick star-power he needs.
If that is not enough to convince him, Derrick Favors or Demarcus Cousins could easily become solid pieces. Favors and Cousins both departed for the NBA after one year in college.
Cleveland will be able to sign LeBron for the most money, but with all the money he already owns, the difference between the two teams max offers would probably not sway his decision in either direction. The Cavs are a solid team, but they’ve already been blessed with seven years of LeBron, and didn’t make enough of a concerted effort to place LeBron with the right teammates to elevate Cleveland to a championship level.
New Jersey’s new stadium in Brooklyn and its young roster, will present LeBron with an offer that will be hard to refuse.
The Nets’ roster expands beyond Harris and Lopez. The seldom talked about young players , Courtney Lee and Terrence Williams, could grow into solid role players on a winning team and quickly. Yi Jianlian is another developing, young player.
If New Jersey does draft either Favors or Cousins and adds LeBron, the starting five could easily be Devin Harris, Courtney Lee/Terrence Williams, LeBron James, Derrick Favors/Demarcus Cousins, and Brook Lopez.
That line-up might not be ready for a championship run, but with LeBron on board, New Jersey would be an upgraded squad.
The Nets would instantly become a contender in the Eastern Conference, and expectations would soar.
Get on your knees and pray, New Jersey. The King could be poised to take the Nets throne.