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