LeBron James had nearly another full week to mull over his future with the Miami Heat. Instead, he decided today to opt out of his current contract, leaving nearly $43-million on the table, and become a free agent on July 1.
This will be the second time that James has shopped his services around the NBA. “The Decision” aired July 8, 2010 and all eyes were on LeBron as he jumped from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat. At that time, James had limitless talent, no titles and a label that he couldn’t deliver at crunchtime. This time around he has four MVP’s, two rings and an opportunity to choose the perfect situation for himself.
There are many questions surrounding this move though …
Does LeBron take less money and remain with the Heat?
Believe it or not, Miami still gives James his best chance at a title next season. Sure DeWyane Wade is aging and Chris Bosh isn’t the star he once was, but if the Heat tweak their roster, including adding someone like free agent point guard Kyle Lowery, they instantly solidify their top spot in the East.
Did LeBron talk this over with Wade and Bosh?
The Big Three were a package deal in 2010. But are they still in this thing together or did James go rogue on the other two by bailing on what he might perceive as a sinking ship? Has he assured him that he’ll remain in Miami to hunt the seven titles he promised four years ago?
Is this a cash grab for LeBron?
Just like Michael Jordan, LeBron James will be underpaid no matter what his paycheck says. There is no way a team can pay him his true worth and build a legit championship contender. James has answered the critics that said he could never win a title. Maybe now it’s just time to get paid.
Will LeBron be part of another package deal?
With this announcement, LeBron pushed aside Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Love (who will likely be traded by Minnesota) and Kyle Lowery as the most coveted players looking to change teams in 2014-15. Will he join forces with some of these players on a new team, aka “The Big Three Part II?” A team like the Los Angeles Lakers have the cap room, an established star (Kobe Bryant) and the front office brains to rebuild into a winner.
What must the Miami Heat be thinking?
They can’t be shocked that LeBron wants to test the free agent market, but I’m sure they thought they would get more than four years out of the guy, right? Have they been told that LeBron wants to stay in South Beach and have a say in personnel decisions? Or are they completely in the dark on his future and have to fill the largest hole of any team in the league?
I don’t know where LeBron James will end up. But when the biggest star in the four major sports becomes a free agent – for the second time in the prime of his career – it’s going to be high drama. Every team in the NBA wants him and will likely do anything to land him. It’s going to be a(nother) wild summer.