Published July 08, 2010
The opportunities seem endless: A fast break flanked by Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. A pick-and-roll with Amare Stoudemire that would be nearly impossible to stop.
Or maybe a second chance for a partnership with Carlos Boozer that ended too soon in Cleveland.
LeBron James' choices seem even better now than they did when free agency opened a week ago. New York and Chicago landed big men. So did Miami — while keeping Dwyane Wade.
And when he announces Thursday night where he will play next season, here is some of what James will have to consider.
Why they'd land LeBron: Adding Boozer, a rugged power forward and one-time James teammate, to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah gives Chicago perhaps the best core of any James suitor. ... James respects new coach Tom Thibodeau, the architect of the Boston defenses that knocked him out of the playoffs two of the last three years. ... James grew up a Bulls fan.
Why they'd lose LeBron: Boozer is good, but James may have preferred Wade or Bosh — or both. ... James may not want the pressure of living up to inevitable comparisons to Michael Jordan in Chicago. ... Management has had some strained relationships with its star players, a point Wade alluded to this season.
Why they'd land LeBron: He's spent his entire career there and the Cavs know him better than anyone, which they reminded James in a presentation that included a video based on "Family Guy," one of his favorite shows. ... Hired an experienced and successful coach in Byron Scott. ... Close to his hometown of Akron. ... Able to offer him about $30 million more than any other team over the life of a max deal. ... Owner Dan Gilbert has shown he's willing to spend to build a winner. ... Best regular-season record in the NBA each of the last two seasons.
Why they'd lose LeBron: Haven't been able to upgrade while competitors for James have made big deals around them, and moves to win before James hit free agency have left them with little cap flexibility to make them going forward. ... Were shown again that it's not easy to attract free agents to Cleveland when Bosh refused to show interest in a sign-and-trade there.
|LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS|
Why they'd land LeBron: A good core, with All-Star center Chris Kaman, 2009 No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin, and guards Baron Davis and Eric Gordon. ... Finally hired a coach in Vinny Del Negro, who took Chicago to consecutive playoff appearances. ... Los Angeles would provide numerous entertainment opportunities.
Why they'd lose LeBron: A longtime laughingstock in pro sports and the clear little brother in its own building to the NBA champion Lakers. ... Donald Sterling is considered one of the worst and cheapest owners in sports. ... Would be tough to unseat Kobe Bryant as the most popular player in the city.
Why they'd land LeBron: Can fit him into a powerful trio with Wade and Bosh, who both committed to sign with Miami on Wednesday. ... Trendy spots, great weather and no state income tax make Miami a favorite of many NBA players. ... Strong leadership at the top with owner Micky Arison and president Pat Riley — who hinted he would consider a return to coaching if certain free agents requested it.
Why they'd lose LeBron: Signing a maximum contract would leave almost no money left for the Heat to fill out a roster around the trio. ... James might not want to come to Wade's team.
|NEW JERSEY NETS|
Why they'd land LeBron: Believe they made a strong pitch headed by new Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who vows the Nets will become a global team, and entertainer and part-owner Jay-Z, a longtime friend of James. ... With center Brook Lopez, point guard Devin Harris and No. 3 pick Derrick Favors, the Nets have some good young pieces. ... Expected to begin playing in new arena in Brooklyn, which James calls his favorite borough, in 2012.
Why they'd lose LeBron: Had nearly enough money to sign two max players, but so far have struck out in free agency. ... Will spend the next two years in Newark while waiting for Brooklyn arena to be built. ... Coming off a 12-70 season that was one of worst in NBA history. ... With president Rod Thorn expected to retire next month, no clear leader of the basketball operations.
|NEW YORK KNICKS|
Why they'd land LeBron: Landed Stoudemire, who would be the best player James has ever teamed with in the NBA, and still have nearly $19 million remaining. ... James loves Madison Square Garden and New York. ... Coach Mike D'Antoni is friendly with James from the U.S. Olympic team, and James likes his system. ... Can afford to sign another maximum salary free agent with James. ... Offers marketing opportunities James craves.
Why they'd lose LeBron: Mired in franchise-worst stretch of nine straight losing seasons. ... Moves to clear salary have left little remaining talent. ... One of the league's poorest defensive teams, and James values good defense. ... Enormous media presence may be a turnoff to James.