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LeBron James Should Leave the Miami Heat in 2014 NBA Free Agency

Updated on May 29, 2013
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The hate fest and burning desire to see LeBron James lose his quest to repeat as a champion goes on. While the Miami Heat battle in the Eastern Conference Finals, many basketball fans can't help but peek ahead to next year when the entire NBA landscape could shift once again.

Dwyane Wade and Indiana Pacers present troubling issues

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Anyone left searching for another player in the league better than James should stop wasting their time. For better or worse the man is, to quote Tina Turner, "Simply the best." His team won 66 games and dispatched two determined but outgunned opponents in the playoffs. Every time it seems the Heat are tested they raise their game to a point where almost nobody can touch. That is unless the opponent is built specifically to counter them. That is the growing reality in the series against the Indiana Pacers. The trio of David West, Paul George and Roy Hibbert have exposed the same flaw that has nagged Miami since James came to the team in 2010. They don't have a very good presence in the front court. Teams know that it isn't hard to out-rebound the champs and if they take advantage of those extra opportunities then there is little James can do besides working quickly to get the points back. So far Indiana has used the strategy to perfection in three out of four games. The series is deadlocked at two apiece.

Suddenly the untouchable team and their MVP look vulnerable and flustered. What's worse is this isn't a problem that will just go away. They've had three seasons to fix it and have made little to no progress. On top of that is the lingering uncertainty around James' wingman, Dwyane Wade. The 31-year old still has plenty of juice in his body and can make plays for his team. Yet he can't hide an ongoing endeavor with his left knee. The injury has dogged him for a long time and hasn't shown signs of getting better. If anything the pain gets worse the more the playoffs go on. He should make it through well enough but it does raise questions about his future with the team. Knee problems are a regular occurrence with him, and his advancing age only makes it worse. How will these factors impact James when he prepares to become a free agent again?

Pat Riley and Heat have nothing more to offer him

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If loyalty meant anything James he would've stayed with the Cleveland Cavaliers for at least a few more seasons. Instead he sensed the growing urge to win a title so he left for South Beach. People judged him for it but, like it or not, he got what he wanted. With that out of the way, what does Miami have left to offer him? GM Pat Riley did a nice job putting the Big Three together but can he hang onto them and expect to win more titles with a hobbled Wade and older Chris Bosh?

Adding to that problem is the laundry list of teams that would gladly put up a max contract for James if he entered the market again. Though he skirted them once, the Chicago Bulls might have a need at forward when Luol Deng becomes a free agent that same year. They also likely plan to amnesty Carlos Boozer. This would open the door for James to join Derrick Rose who is seven years younger than Wade. There is also the possibility of returning to Cleveland, something James didn't dismiss when asked last season. The thought of him and Kyrie Irving certainly has a nice ring to it.

Either way, the point is Miami doesn't have as much leverage to keep James as many think. Their main promise to him was a championship. Since that is done, can they really offer him a shot to challenge Jordan and Bryant? Simple math on their roster says no.

Where will LeBron James go if he leaves Miami in 2014?

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The King could leave the building

Miami may well do what is expected of them and repeat as champions. They better. Chances to do that will become harder and harder to come by if their roster can't withstand the ravages of time and free agency. LeBron may want to stay. What Heat fans fear the most is he doesn't have to. That is why he will probably leave next year.

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    • jeolmoz2 profile image

      Julio E Olmo Sr 3 years ago from Florida, USA

      @EJLambert You're a prophet my friend, good job on this hub also voted up & shared

    • profile image

      yourlocallawnboy 3 years ago

      I think he will end up on the Nuggets squad! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha only in dreams.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Yeah, well LeBron didn't have to go through the Larry Bird Celtics or Isaiah Thomas Pistons to get there either. As I recall the Eastern Conference was pathetic that '07 season. The Cavs went through Washington, New Jersey and Detroit. Jordan could've easily carried Cleveland through those same three teams. He faced (and swept) better versions of those same three during his reign in fact.

    • profile image

      Johnson Poles 4 years ago

      Did MJ ever play in a finals with Eric Snow, Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Sasha Pavlovic, Daniel Gibson, Donyell Marshall and Anderson Varejao.... Him taking that team to a finals should be enough. His lost to the mavs I agree but MJ wouldn't win anything with this Cavs team either

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Yes, Jordan fought for some of them but he also never lost a Finals and never let a Finals get to a seventh game. James has done both. Different players from different eras, but you can't argue Jordan's record in the Finals is far more spotless.

    • profile image

      Peter 4 years ago

      The finals is never easy what the heat did to okc was special but go ahead n tell me Jordan didn't fight to win some of those rings in the final its not always going to be easy

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Well considering the Heat just got pushed to 7 games by a far older team and almost gave it away despite home court advantage, I'm not convinced their reign is long for this world. They earned that second title, no doubt, but the grind of so many tough series is starting to wear on them. Whether that is enough to scare away LeBron is the big question.

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      Anonymous 4 years ago

      LeBron is not going to leave Miami as much as you all like to think he will but we won't and here's why 1. That'd be his 3rd Team in 5 year for a man who is trying to build up a legacy he can't be bouncing around the league because otherwise people will start saying "he's good but he can't do it on his own blah blah blah" and all the stuff that come with it. Secondly, Pat Riley know what he doing and Miami will still continue to attract free agent. Dwayne Wade would probably get a as much money so the Heat wouldn't have to scrape the bottom of the pack signing player on a minimal contract they can afford to splash a bit more cash and get a better role player in there rotation. And as much as I hate to say this the next contract extension Dwayne get could well be his last, I mean he's a 32 years old man with a bummed knee who has lost his slashing ability(to a certain extend) so I wouldn't be surprise if he decide to call it a day in a couple year time. Anyway I stray off my point but I don't think LeBron will leave the Miami in the next off season unless there are a Problem in the locker room

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Durability actually wasn't a problem for Rose before last season. He only missed like four games the previous two years before that. Besides, you have to remember Rose is an ice cold shoot late in games. Imagine how open he would be with LeBron setting him up since teams have to respect him? That is the truly scary part to me.

    • Man of Honour profile image

      Man of Honour 4 years ago from Isle of Man

      Good points about the coaching aspect and Rose's age. I agree that Chicago would be a good fit for LeBron, however I predict that Rose's durability is minimal, however if he returns and stays healthy Chicago would be unbelievable.

      Surely LeBron would want the opportunity to win titles but also the ability to wipe MJ out of the Bulls minds. For that reason I believe he will be chasing a person regarded to many as God and would never have the opportunity to be held as the best player of all time. He must go to Cleveland and face his demons, win and become the greatest player of all time.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thank you! There's no doubt Cleveland is enticing, but you also have to take coaching into account. Chicago has Thibodeau who has the best defenses in the league. LeBron could walk into that knowing all he has to do is put some points on the board and the defense would do the rest. Yes, D-Rose is hurt but he's also seven years younger than Wade, so the prospects of prolonged issues with the knee are negligible. Don't forget we have Noah and Jimmy Butler in the front court, something LeBron doesn't have in Miami.

    • Man of Honour profile image

      Man of Honour 4 years ago from Isle of Man

      Love your Hubs. LeBron James is a beast and I think he would be perfect back in Cleveland. Kyrie is one of the best if not the best point guards in the league and those two would be unstoppable with the likes of Waiters Thompson, Zeller and the chance of adding Noel Nerlens to the roster. It's a difficult one to call however you have to factor in that if the Bulls come calling Rose is as injured as D-Wade and so overall he has to go to Cleveland. If everything fits into place you have Houston with Howard, Harden and Parsons. Oklahoma with Durant, Westbrook. Cleveland with LeBron and Kyrie. Let's just say the next few seasons are going to be very exciting. I don't mind what happens as long as LeBron keeps winning and shows everyone he is once and for all the best player of all time.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      The playoff experience is building and so is their core. Jimmy Butler is coming around and I think Marcus Teague will be better next year. I really liked what I saw in Game 7 against Brooklyn.

    • Man of Strength profile image

      Man of Strength 4 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      That's a good team. If Derrick Rose can return to MVP form, the Heat will be in trouble next year. Despite all of the injuries that team willed itself into the second round.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Exactly my point. As a Bulls fan I think joining Derrick Rose is a no-brainer for him. Those two together on the court with a Tom Thibodeau defense in place? Yikes.

    • Man of Strength profile image

      Man of Strength 4 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      I agree. Wade is slowly breaking down. Chris Bosh is a solid player but I wouldn't stay just for him.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Those make sense. Both guys are younger than Wade with greater longevity and by default more title opportunities.

    • Man of Strength profile image

      Man of Strength 4 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      There's been rumblings that he may head west to team with Dwight Howard, of course Howard has to re sign with the Lakers. Some say he may go back to Cleveland, to play with Kyrie Irving.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
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      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      The simple answer is he's trying to keep window for winning championships as open as possible. His best opportunity was to hope Cleveland could put a nice roster around him to grow with. They failed. He still shouldn't have left that quickly, but he went to Miami to get his ring. Now his goal is nothing short of joining Kobe and Michael. I don't think he can do that with this Heat roster.

    • dontaytte profile image

      dontaytte 4 years ago from Palos Hills

      No, he has to stay there. I lost all respect for him when he left Cleveland and if he goes somewhere else I think that the remaining supporters he has will wonder why he keeps moving.