Why LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will become teammates … and win championships
The reasons against are, by now, well known. Critics claim James and Wade want their own team, won’t share the ball, and won’t take less money and/or term on contracts, which is a must for a co-superstar arrangement to happen. Nonsense. There is, of course, the economy. League revenues have fallen, so the salary cap for 2010-11 will also fall, which means teams will have less to spend on free agents without triggering the luxury tax. Also, most owners have less disposable income to spend on NBA teams …
The debate rages.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will become free agents this summer. And there has been much discussion on whether the two should sign with the same team and if such a pairing would flourish.
The reasons against are, by now, well known. Critics claim James and Wade want their own team, won’t share the ball, and won’t take less money and/or term on contracts, which is a must for a co-superstar arrangement to happen.
There is, of course, the economy. League revenues have fallen, so the salary cap for 2010-11 will also fall, which means teams will have less to spend on free agents without triggering the luxury tax. And most owners have less disposable income to spend on NBA teams.
This is not a deal breaker, though. In fact, a ‘King James’ and ‘Flash’ partnership is a real possibility. It could work on the basketball court and balance sheet.
Being ‘The Man is a necessity. Not a choice. Without great teammates, James and Wade must dominate on-court for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat to have any chance at winning. If being ‘The Man’ was what each truly wanted, they’d have maintained the status quo long ago by inking extensions with their current teams.
Two summers ago, James and Wade accepted lesser roles when Team USA went to the Olympics in Beijing, China. The reward was obvious: they won a gold medal and helped America reclaim its place as a global hoops power. And both would again sacrifice individual statistics for an elite teammate, especially if it meant reaping the rewards of multiple championships.
James and Wade have ‘gotten-theirs’, earning sizable fortunes through max’ contracts and lucrative sponsorships. Again, if it was ‘All About The Benjamins’, they’d have already re-upped with the Cavaliers and Heat because – according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement – these teams can offer the most money and term.
Believe it or not, the New Jersey Nets are a viable option for a James-Wade tandem. The lowly franchise has between $21 and $25 million in cap space for 2010. They have developing pieces in Devin Harris, Courtney Lee and Brook Lopez. And they’ll get a top draft pick next June.
The real key is New Jersey’s new owner Mikhail Prokhorov – also known as Russia’s richest man. Prokhorov, with a net worth of $9-12 billion, has already secured funding for that controversial arena project in Brooklyn, New York.
There are two reasons the former oligarch would splurge on max contracts for James and Wade. First, Prokhorov, an ‘Alpha Male’, likes to win. Second, with two of the game’s biggest attractions, he could charge any amount for season tickets and luxury boxes when the team moves into their Brooklyn digs.
James and Wade may prefer Manhattan to Brooklyn. If so, the New York Knicks have $20-$23 million in cap space. Like the Nets, they would also spend over the salary cap and have the market to profit off two superstars.
There are signs James and Wade will play together. Or that they’re strongly considering it; in fact, we know these two and the Toronto Raptors’ Chris Bosh, another unrestricted free agent, will discuss becoming teammates at a dinner in July.
James and Wade want the same thing: to win. Everything else is secondary. Shots. Recognition. Controlling the ball. Anything is possible when great players share a common goal and are committed to reaching it.
And James and Wade understand the importance of July. They know this summer is their moment, their sole opportunity to partner up long-term with a once-in-a-generation player and form a potential dynasty.
James and Wade will contemplate playing together. And if ‘the impossible’ became reality, and they were to join forces, why wouldn’t these superstars – make that co-superstars – do everything to succeed?