Five Reasons Lebron James Will Leave the Miami Heat
Just four years ago, Lebron James uttered the words that clanged throughout the NBA universe: "... I'm going to take my talents to South Beach ..." Now, after the Miami Heat get done doing whatever they might in the NBA Finals, Lebron will once again have the opportunity to test the free agent waters if he so desires. Regardless of how many titles James had in mind when he landed in Miami ("not one, not two, not three, ..."), there are plenty of reasons to believe he has his eye on another change of scenery. Here are the top five reasons LBJ might not be in a Heat uniform come the fall of 2014.
What, me worry?
Lebron Is Getting Old
Say what? This can't be. Why, Lebron James is the wunderkind of the NBA who is going to revolutionize the sport ... right? Well, he has done plenty to elevate basketball at a time when there was not another totally dominant player, so there's that.
The truth is, though, that King James will turn 30 before we flip the calendar to 2015, and he now has a full 11 high-usage, mega-stress seasons on his pro chassis. You can tack on nearly another two seasons for all his playoff games, and if you add in the weight of the world he carried while in Cleveland and the weight of the Heat in Miami, Lebron's legs have to be pretty tired.
The man is a physical specimen and hardly in the same league as the rest of us humans, but even Lebron gets old, just like Kobe Bryant did before him. Besides, have you looked at Lebron's face lately? Okay, technically this is a picture of Greg Oden, but they're the same guy facially, especially around the aged forehead.
Lebron's senior status matters so much now particularly because ...
Forgot my Poligrip again!
The Miami Heat Are ALREADY Old
According to Deadspin, the Heat were the oldest team in the NBA this season by a decent margin, but you don't really need stats to figure that out. A couple of working eyes of some empathy for Ray Allen's and Dwayne Wade's gimping ("gimpathy"?) will tell you all you need to know about the Heat's age. With each passing hobble, Lebron James is forced to take on more of the load in Miami, working his way back toward the one-man-band status he "enjoyed" all those years with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In other words, the Heat are going to have to get younger, soon, in order to keep James healthy and to continue their assault on the NBA Finals every year. With lots of strapping, hungry teams nipping at their heels and with an already bulging payroll, that may not be so easy to do.
A Nose for the Game
Lebron "Lost" The MVP
Whether it was Lebron Fatigue or a case of older voters thinking they were casting a ballot for "Jimmy Durante" instead of "Kevin Durant," the fact remains that King James lost his hold on the MVP trophy in 2013-14. Like Michael Jordan in his prime, Lebron is the odds-on favorite to take home this hardware every year, and that surety might be wearing thin with some pundits. If James wants to wrest control of the MVP from the younger set -- and he almost surely does -- he might have to do something spectacular, even by his standards.
Is winning another title, or guiding the Heat to the league's best record, spectacular enough? Perhaps, but it would help if they went 82-0 along the way.
Ah, but how about returning to Cleveland and then leading the Cavaliers to the best record in the Eastern Conference, maybe stepping all over the Heat in the process? Now that -- THAT -- would be spectacular.
Even Dan Gilbert might get excited for THAT.
Yes, the divorce was bitter. Sure, there were mean words exchanged, and lives were torn asunder. But haven't you had the feeling that Lebron James and the Cavaliers have been tossing furtive glances toward each other ever since The Decision in 2010? Cleveland is the high school sweetheart that Lebron left behind to marry the high-class lawyer (Miami) who made his image complete. When he sleeps at night, though, don't you think he dreams, even occasionally, about going home to right whatever wrongs might be hanging out there? Does he check out the Cavs on Facebook every once in awhile and then delete his browser history before Erik Spoelstra can find out? Lebron is only (super)human, after all.
Even if he doesn't end up back in Cleveland, the lure of the Cavs might at least cause Lebron to look around the NBA landscape. And who knows? He might just spy a better place to let his golden year talents play out.
Gotta Work on that Tongue!
Lebron is Not Michael Jordan ... Yet
Lebron was going to be the next Michael Jordan. Or was that the next Magic Johnson? Or was he the Tiger Woods of basketball? Whatever superlative comparison you like best, Lebron was going to be "It!". And you know what? He is "it," for the most part. But he wasn't first and hasn't lifted a city or a franchise or a sport, in quite the same way that Magic and Michael did in previous generations. Of course, Lebron is not done yet.
While Miami is a good basketball town and the Heat have been awesome, Lebron might be able to completely kick his legacy up a notch if he were to land in, say, Chicago or Los Angeles and reel off a string of championships with the Bulls or Lakers. Gettin' it done for storied franchises in the arenas built on the backs of former greats just might seal James' status as the best ever.
"Eyes covered by Wrigley Field ivy, over the Sears Tower, skipped across Lake Michigan, off the Soldier Field turf, through an open window in the United Center, around the security guards, weaved through Michael's championship banners ... nothing but net!"
Oh The Places He'll Go ... Or Not
Maybe Lebron will be content to stay in Miami and keep building on what he's already put together with the Heat. He negotiated the opportunity to explore free agency again because he wanted the chance to look around as he approached 30, though, and there are many compelling reasons for him to spread his wings. So, where will Lebron take his talents? Ultimately to Springfield, of course, but the safe money says he has a lot of fireworks to show us before then.
Don't be surprised if he lights his next firecracker this summer.
Will Lebron James Leave the Miami Heat in 2014?
The Truth Is Out There
Tell Me Your Lebron Theories
Think I'm wrong about Lebron James leaving the Miami Heat for shinier hardwood? Let me know what you think below.