Where will Lebron go?

He was born in Ohio, grew up in Ohio, studied in Ohio, learned basketball in Ohio, had first dibs on a woman’s boobies possibly in Ohio, and pretty much became a first round pick overall and a multi-awarded MVP in Ohio.

So will Lebron James do something else that’s not in Ohio?

NBA Insiders think that’s going to happen sooner than people think.

Lebron James will not win a NBA championship this season. My Boys in Boston demolished his dreams when they stop their chances in six games. Blame Rajon Rondo. Blame Kevin Garnett. Blame Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, Big Baby Davis, Tony Allen, and Kendrick Perkins... hell, even blame Nate Robinson even if his first postseason appearance had “diminutive” importance (pun included).

When Lebron James was shooting his free throws, the Beantown fans were shouting “New York Knicks”. So does this make the Boston Commons as clairvoyants? After Game Six, LBJ could have taken his Cavs jersey off for the last time. I bet people would pay real money for that jersey... because that could be the last Cavs jersey the king would ever wear.

There are a lot of teams hoping to sign up Lebron James but aside from LBJ, there are a ton of greats that would also be testing the free agent market. Here are the other five players that could spell the difference on how the free agent market would look like:

It seems like Joe Johnson is the Hawks’ go-to-guy. Since his entry to the team, alongside a bit of newbies, the Hawks are zooming to the top. Unfortunately, Johnson’s lackluster playoff performance made their ouster mandatory. Coach Mike Woodson has been fired and people expect that the Hawks will have a bit of remodelling in their stable. One bad sight for Johnson is he isn’t that young and I bet the Hawks would rather pick up a big guy to help Josh Smith and Al Horford since they also have Jamal Crawford in their team.

The 2000’s version of Stockton-to-Malone has become Williams-to-Boozer. But just like the original duo, the current duo has yet to produce a championship. Boozer became a superstar when he moved out of Cleveland and if there’s a bigger offer out in the market he may snag it. However, the most logical choice for Booz is to stick with the Jazz. The needs another big man to go onboard and that could happen if they finally trade Andrei Kirilenko. Kirilenko could be a favourable swap for a Nene or a Chris Kaman. Actually, if he wants to win a championship, all he needs to do is pick up a pen and sign with the Spurs.

David Lee had a breakout 2008-09 season. By the end of that season, he’ll be a free agent. Unfortunately for Lee, he was a restricted free agent. Unfortunately for Lee, the Knicks weaselled out a wise-assed deal to keep Lee with a little amount of dough. This season, Lee just became an All-Star and he nailed career-high averages this season. It would be stupid for the Knicks to not keep him especially since they have a big amount of dough to spend on at least two All-Stars. Question is, Lee has yet to become a household name and when Bosh, Wade, and James knock on New York’s door, I expect Lee to spend his NBA career elsewhere. But on the plus side, you can’t mess out with Lee now. Interested parties could pretty much snag Lee for a very lucrative multi-year contract.

For Wade it’s simple: he wants to win. Ever since the championship core has been scattered, the Heat has had it hard to win a playoff series. Mike Beasley is not a capable rebounder and the revolving door of big men would possibly start again with Jermaine O’Neal faltering in that position. But The Flash wants to be in a winning team... and not in a RE-building team. Signing with the Heat anew won’t hurt, but his hometown in Chicago wants him to play for the squad. Wade will find himself wearing the colors his idol, Michael Jordan used to wear (which should matter because he’s the endorser of His Airness’ shoe). He will also find himself playing with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and a core that is a superstar away from soaring to greater heights.

I can’t see a team hunting for two scorers. If they are like New York where if they can re-sign David Lee, then by all means get Wade and James. However, there are a lot of squads that’s in dire need to shop for a talented big man that can score facing or not facing the basket. The Bulls could have used Bosh in their Cleveland series while Mike Woodson was fired because he cannot control Dwight Howard’s dominance in the paint. I believe that Bosh is the next important free agent behind Lebron James because team’s can resist a slasher… but never a slashing big man. Bosh also has voiced his intention to get pair up with a superstar. He is friends with Wade and where James plays would also be a strong indication on where he’ll head. I don’t think he’ll re-sign with Toronto because the Raps just can’t win. That the Knicks, Nets, Hornets, Bulls, Heat, Bobcats, Jazz, and Wizards could have something to eye in the weeks to come.

My officemate Isko said that according to ALL JORDAN FANATICS IN THE WORLD, Wade will sign with the Charlotte Bobcats.

My take: That remains to be seen but a bigger market should be the team he would be pulling for and I’d rather play for Chicago than Charlotte.

So what’s this got to do with Lebron?

Here are the five biggest teams en route to clinch the Lebron’s bandwagon.

Who’s that foreign dude checking out LBJ? Why, it’s a Russian billionaire of course! Ever since communism has slowly taken the boot out of the former USSR, a couple of rich people spawned from the Eastern bloc. The Nets will now be moving to a new home and with Yi Jianlian and Devin Harris basically the team’s stars, the Nets are set to horde big time talent. They can actually claim James. They are now moving to Brooklyn and anything near New York is a grand market. James can ask for a ginormous salary where he can own… A RUSSIAN ISLAND! Hell, he can also play for the CSKA team in Moscow if he cares too much on his conditioning! The move lies though if Lebron would seriously pimp himself to go to a critically weak team where he’ll have to contend of NOT playing in the playoffs for two years and getting persecuted by almost everybody. Admit it; there are a ton of people living in earth that would rather be sellouts. Maybe LBJ is one of those who think that.

Charlotte is not a big name team. I bet a Charlotte Bobcats jersey in the Philippines does not exist… unless he bites a bullet and wears it for himself. The team is ruled by His Airness, Michael Jordan and they are a big man away from making it big. The team lacks a star guard and a scoring big man but imagine the scoring power unleashed by Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, and James? Perhaps politics could be a major problem for LBJ in this move. Why is he in Charlotte when Dwyane Wade is the guy wearing Jordan’s shoe? But I can’t see MJ getting pissed if James joins the team. The problem is, will James even dare thinking of Charlotte?

Remember the talk that the number 23 will be retired permanently? This is not the first time it has happened on the American scene. Jackie Robinson, the first Afro-American baseball player’s jersey number 42 will forever be unharmed by another person’s awesomeness because the number has been retired. So when this happens, what will happen to James’ 23? To avoid embarrassment, he could ditch Cleveland to Chicago. While the Bulls has been hunting on Wade, they can’t ignore James when he comes knocking in. James could star in the 3-spot which leaves Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, and Kirk Hinrich contending in the backcourt spots. James can’t use Jordan’s number there so he’ll have to settle for a different number before his debut. Chicago is also a big name city. While he can’t get the money he had if he’s talking with the Knicks, at least he has a ready-made selection of playoff-tested team mates.

Yes, I am ranking the incumbent team second instead of first despite the fact that incumbents usually win. While incumbency gives you an edge because you know the player in question, this “familiarity” is a double-edged sword. There are rumors that if James stays with Cleveland, Mike Brown will be evicted from his spot. There is also a scenario Shaq and some of the Cavs would be booted out. Don’t worry because these demands were once did by Shaq when he bolted out of Orlando to join the Lakers with hopes to bolster his music and acting career (haha). And for Dan Gilbert, what could he even offer James. He gave LBJ a star-studded squad and since his entry he has been treated as royalty. James is said to be bringing in John Calipari as the new head coach and this seriously mean that he wants results. But as of this moment, LBJ wants to play in a big market squad and this could be beyond Cleveland’s domain. If James wants to be like this, they can always try to claim the next best star.

This is the perceived team to watch with regards to LBJ’s decisions. Remember when Isiah Thomas ran the show and instead of beefing up all positions, he basically just claimed every arrogant slasher and shooter during that time? Yes, this is the reason Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell were joined by a merry-go-round of talents like Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury, Glen Rice, Larry Hughes, Tim Thomas, Penny Hardaway, Jamal Crawford, among others. In fairness, Houston and Sprewell didn’t see all of these guys during their tenure and who could blame them? This version of the Knicks never had a defensive specialist (Charles Oakley), a marquee big man (Patrick Ewing), a streaky shooter (John Starks), and a key performer off the bench (Anthony Mason). Now, this is their time to make use of the salary cap space they obtained and what better way to score such feat by beefing up their starting line. Mike D’Antoni is James’ assistant coach in Team USA and he’ll pretty much makle James useful in his scheme. But the difference maker is that New York can still claim another top-tier with the way their salary cap is in right now. While I doubt they can sign another player and still claim David Lee within “cheap” basis, I bet either Lee, Bosh, or Boozer might be enticed to join this squad.

However it all depends on how Lebron James would stir up the free agent market. Remember that these players are too good to lose and that could mean team owners scrambling to convince their marquees to stay with the squad.

For Cleveland fans, they have five more months to convince James to stay.

Will Lebron still be the hometown hero?

Or will he become the traitor they’ll boo once they see him play in their homecourt?

Game over.


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