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LeBron James Destination

LeBron James Destination

LeBron James Destination

The LeBron Sweepstakes—Place Your Bets Now!

2010-06-25

The LeBron Sweepstakes—Place Your Bets Now!

Maybe you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, so I’ll repeat it just in case; this summer, the NBA features one of the best storylines in years. This is the Summer of LeBron. Even though such megastars as Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire and others are free agents this summer, the big prize is LeBron James. There’s no team that wouldn’t love to get LeBron. The sad truth for 31 of those 32 teams, however, is that only one team will win the LeBron sweepstakes. LeBron hasn’t given many clues, but here are the five most likely destinations for King James this summer. And all of the NBA betting community is on the edge of their seats for this.

5. New York Knicks This has been wildly speculated for years now, as people take LeBron’s stated goal of becoming a billionaire and run with it. Let’s clear this up right now. This. Is. Not. Happening. LeBron has already become a transcendent figure in our culture, a major star in the absolutely miniscule Cleveland media market. Going to New York won’t do anything to enhance his image or his personal brand. LeBron wants to win championships—that is what he needs to approach Jordan in the basketball pantheon. Even if New York were to sign a second big name this offseason, a team with Danilo Gallinari and Chris Duhon in the starting five isn’t going anywhere, which all the keen NBA betting types know. New York doesn’t offer nearly enough upside for LeBron, and he doesn’t stand to gain anything by becoming a Knick. Don’t trust the hype. LeBron isn’t going to be a Knick any sooner than you or I.

4. New Jersey Nets Basically, this is the same situation as the Knicks, but with a few minor advantages for New Jersey. The Nets have a new owner, Russian multi-billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who is willing to re-make the entire Nets brand around James. New Jersey is also about to make a move to a brand new stadium in Brooklyn, potentially along with a new team name, logo, attitude, and roster. If that’s not enough incentive, Nets partial-owner Jay-Z is a friend of James’, and has made it clear that he’d love to team up with the King. Still, when the Nets lost the number one pick in the NBA lottery, they missed out not only on consensus-first-pick John Wall, but LeBron James, as well. The Nets don’t have the cash to put together a championship-ready team the way other teams on this list do. Without John Wall, LeBron James won’t be going to New Jersey.

3. Los Angeles Clippers This seems like a long shot to most people, but don’t count out the Clips as a viable spot for LeBron to start his career anew. The Clippers can make a strong argument for being the best spot for LeBron James. Imagine a starting five of Baron Davis, Eric Gordon (who put up close to 17 points per game last year), James, Blake Griffin, and All-Star Chris Kaman. Add in the 8th overall draft pick (perhaps Kansas’ Xavier Henry to help spell Davis and Gordon) and, and you certainly have a more intriguing roster than anything James has seen in Cleveland. The Clippers have always been at the mercy of Donald Sterling—the Al Davis of the NBA—but entertainment mogul David Geffen has expressed interest in buying the Clippers. They don’t get the attention of the Knicks or Bulls, but don’t count out the Clips. James would love the chance to match up against Kobe four times a year.

2. Chicago Bulls For whatever reason, the media has all but decided that this is going to happen, and it’s certainly a strong possibility. Chicago provides the solid roster, major market and cap space James needs, but something smells funny here. LeBron hasn’t won a championship in his first seven years as a pro, and with all the comparisons between him and Jordan, would he really want to bring the inevitable pressure upon himself by signing with Chicago? Even if the Bulls won three titles in five years with James at the helm, the people of Chicago would never embrace him the way they did Jordan, the greatest to ever play the game. The chance to play with Derrick Rose makes Chicago a strong contender, but LeBron is a savvy enough businessman to know he needs some distance between himself and Jordan to keep the mystery going.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers Other than the small market, it’s hard to find a reason why LeBron wouldn’t want to re-sign with Cleveland. Not only is it a great PR move (keeping his loyalty with the Cavs, his hometown team), but the Cavs are clearly serious about making changes to suit their superstar. With GM Danny Ferry out and college coaching legend Tom Izzo possibly on his way in to fill Mike Brown’s recently vacated head coaching position, it’s clear that Cleveland is willing to give James the keys the car. The Cavs have been contenders every year with virtually no help around LeBron, so it’s an easy sell from a front office perspective—sign with us, and we’ll get you those last few pieces of the puzzle. With all the free agents ripe for the picking, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine James and, say, Chris Bosh lining up to take small pay cuts to play together. It’s far from a done deal, but Cleveland has to have the upper hand in signing LeBron James this summer.
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