The unprecedented build up and meltdown surrounding LeBron James‘ decision to sign with the Heat four summers ago dwarfs the current speculation on the four-time MVP’s next venture into free agency, which is likely to occur if James opts out of his contract for next year and maximizes his earnings. James admitted in to Sean Highkin of USA Today that the team’s struggles in his first year after joining forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh caused him to question his unpopular decision at the time, “We weren’t playing good basketball, we were out of sync, and me and D-Wade were looking at each other like, ‘Did we make the right choice, man?'” Three finals appearances and two championships later, James is now easily at peace with the choice. Here are some more rumors on James’ future:
- Bill Reiter of FOX Sports writes that the dysfunction surrounding the Cavs this year is due in large part to the ongoing void and desperation that remain from LeBron’s departure. Reiter says that the tantalizing possibility of a James homecoming next season played a significant part in the re-hiring of coach Mike Brown and the top overall draft selection of Anthony Bennett this year. The Cavs’ playoffs-or-bust goals for the season were an attempt to impress James and lure him back to a winning franchise, but basing the team’s identity around that hypothetical has led to the reports of locker room disarray and underperformance in Retier’s mind.
- While most of the chatter around LeBron’s future centers on his decision to stay, and whether Wade and Bosh remain with him, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel [subscription-only] wonders if James could actually lure more talent to join him on the Heat in upcoming offseasons.
- In the same space, Winderman still can’t rule out the possibility of James returning to the Cavs. The firing of GM Chris Grant could be the first of many moves that make the franchise a more appealing destination, including a new coach or a knockout draft choice.
- Howard Beck and Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report discussed whether a sign-and-trade to the Clippers is a realistic possibility. The odds are stacked against such a move due to the Clippers’ lack of cap room, general legacy concerns for James, and a perceived aversion to the Clippers’ unpopular owner Donald Sterling.