Saturday , Aug , 08 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Can Chicago, Houston, and Miami compete with Cleveland and New York for LeBron James?

It’s unlikely a combination of Bosh, James, and/or Wade signs with Minnesota or Sacramento. Oklahoma City is committed to their youth, while The Don (as in cheapskate owner Donald Sterling) won’t pony up a pair of max contracts. And New Jersey remains a question mark because of arena issues …

Can Chicago, Houston, and Miami compete with Cleveland and New York for LeBron James?


Breaking NBA news mixed with analysis…

Their News: "



LeBron James all but said he plans to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. This does not mean James will leave the Cavaliers, but it does mean he wants to keep all his options open." (Cleveland Plains Dealer via CNNSI Truth and Rumors)

My Gut Reaction: No surprise here.

As expected, LeBron James won’t accept Cleveland’s recent offer of a three-year extension or exercise an option to stay with the club for the 2010-11 season. Instead, all signs point to The King hitting free agency next summer.

A few thoughts on these developments:

First, James could still re-up with the Cavaliers. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, majority owner Dan Gilbert can offer the reigning MVP more money and term. And Gilbert’s new minority partners, a group of Chinese investors, specialize in connecting American brands, like James, with the world’s largest market. And Cleveland will be competitive for years to come.    

Second, James could still sign with the Knicks, though. The Five Burroughs’ dream of signing the three-man appeared dead, but regains a flicker of hope with this announcement. However, New York has little shot at James unless they sign Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade, which could be tricky with the declining salary cap and economy.

Third, Cleveland and New York will have competition. Chad Ford of ESPN believes several teams will possess the cap space to pursue two top free agents next summer.

 On Monday, we looked at the star-studded free-agent class of 2010, and there’s more good news for fans eager to see some moves next summer: Nearly a third of the league will have enough salary-cap space to make a run at one or more free agents.

Given current projections, nine teams — the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings — could have significant money under the salary cap to spend in 2009.”

It’s unlikely a combination of Bosh, James, and/or Wade signs with Minnesota or Sacramento. Oklahoma City is committed to their youth, while The Don (as in cheapskate owner Donald Sterling) won’t pony up a pair of max contracts. And New Jersey remains a question mark because of arena issues.

On-paper, the Bulls, Rockets, and Heat have the cap space, resources and market appeal to ink a pair of these stars. They also have attractive intagibles. Wade grew up in Chicago, while Houston is close to Bosh’s home of Dallas. Of course, Miami has the weather, South Beach, and lifestyle.

Currently, these franchises are the main threats to thwart Cleveland and New York’s plans for July of 2010.

Let us know your thoughts on LeBron James’ recent statements in the coment box below. Follow Oly Sandor at HoopsVibe The Blog and on Twitter. Photo courtesy of stickyewares.