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LeBron James Will Leave Miami Heat if They Lose NBA Finals

Updated on June 9, 2013
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There is nothing worse for a player than knowing in the back of his mind that his team is slowly slipping from an aura of dominance to a second level club, good but not good enough. No one can say that about the Miami Heat so far. They are in their third NBA Finals in three years and stand as the defending world champions. However, unsettling clouds sit on the horizon for the franchise. Other teams in the Eastern Conference are catching up and free agency figures to make life rough for them with the Big Three scheduled to go back on the market. At the heart of it, as always, is LeBron James. With his quest to join Jordan and Bryant atop the history books the sudden vulnerability of his Heat team could mean a big decision is looming next year.

San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers raise questions about Heat

LeBron with Cleveland against San Antonio
LeBron with Cleveland against San Antonio | Source

James has answered every challenge so far this season. That doesn't mean he will answer them all. Miami has a better record than a year ago but for some reason they don't have that "unstoppable" feel. The problem started against the Chicago Bulls who stole Game 1 of the semifinals and somehow made life miserable for the Heat despite missing three of their best players, including Derrick Rose. It got worse in the conference finals when Paul George and Roy Hibbert led the determined Indiana Pacers into battle against Miami. The series went all seven games and took everything James had to finally put it away. This was the same team the Heat largely handled in six games the year before.

Now suddenly Miami lost the opening game of the finals, and home court advantage to the battletested and championship experienced San Antonio Spurs.

James recalls vivid nightmares of the Spurs. It was they who denied him his first championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2007. They understand what it takes to beat him and have the talent to do it. Tony Parker is playing like an MVP while Tim Duncan continues his Hall of Fame career under the watchful eye of their future Hall of Fame coach, Gregg Popovich. This is a team that is disciplined and efficient who won't rush their plays simply because King LeBron is on the floor. They will scrap. They will fight. They will claw. Most importantly they can stay in a game after dealing great teams a loss. That is not the formula James wants to see on the eve of his second-straight crown.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh aren't themselves

Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade
Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade | Source

Another issue hampering the thought of James staying in SouthBeach is the status of his supporting party. Dwyane Wade has still shown flashes of his typical brilliance but not nearly as often as he used to. The star guard turns 32-years old in January. Injuries have piled up on him of late, especially nagging ones on his knees. No one can say whether he has what it takes to continue making deep playoff runs year after year. Chris Bosh on the other hand simply isn't showing up enough. He's scored three fewer points and collected two fewer rebounds this season than his career average. His playoff numbers are even worse at 12 points and 6 rebounds per game. He hasn't pulled his weight and it's hard seeing him drastically improve next season as he makes the big jump to the 3-0 next march. Put simply two of the Big Three are getting older and less effective.

Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving offer promise of longer contention

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving | Source

On top that is the allure of what free agency will bring for James next year. His goal isn't about money anymore. It is about championships. Failing to beat an older Spurs team far from their glory days would have to mean Miami is no longer good enough to help him accomplish his goal. Meanwhile other teams in league will have wide open spots on their roster next year and the money needed to make a deal happen.

Chicago will find lots of salary cap relief in 2014 and have superstar Derrick Rose, who will only be 25 at that point, locked up for the long haul. Throw in the highly respected Tom Thibodeau as head coach and that combination would look mighty intimidating. Then there is the ever present question of if LeBron was serious about a possible return to Cleveland. He admits he never wanted to leave but felt the need to do. Since that time the Cavaliers added star point guard Kyrie Irving and have the first overall draft pick again in 2013. They are poised to take a big step next season. Adding James could prove the final piece to their puzzle, and lead to a reconciliation nobody thought possible.

No matter how one looks at it, the Heat are in for big changes if they can't get that second ring against San Antonio.

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    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      EJLambert,

      This is very good commentary about LeBrown James and the Heat. Yes, the Heat have been inconsistent in the playoffs with the exception of the Milwaukee series which they swept. If James sees that Riley has given him a good supporting cast for next year, I'm sure that he will stick with the Heat. Voted up and sharing.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks Paul. I genuinely believe his future decision to stay rests on this Finals. They played well last night so it looks good for the moment. Still, LeBron can't expect to win five or six rings with this current group. They're getting too old to fast.

    • pmarinov profile image

      Blogger at Best 3 years ago from Detroit MI

      Great hub! I think that LeBron will go back to Cleveland, as he has unfinished business there. If he wins a title with the Cavaliers he will def. be considered one of the greatest players of all time.

      Its another question if the Cavaliers fans want him back after what he did to them several years ago by "taking his talents to SB"...

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      It's hard to say. Cleveland may not want him back. As far as I know only a few players have ever won a championship with two different teams. Kareem did it with the Bucks and Lakers and Wilt did it with the 76ers and Lakers. Shaq also did it with the Lakers and Heat. It would put him in elite company for sure.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      This is easy: no way. Why would anyone leave Miami for Cleveland? Pat Riley is your GM. You still have Wade, future Hall of Famer. Granted, Chris "Posh" is no help. But you can reload there. If LeBron leaves Miami, I'll wear a Met shirt for a week. Of course, I'll post the pics and write a hub about it. Great question.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I merely offered Cleveland as an example. LeBron came from there. It's his home. If he didn't stay loyal to them, why should he to the Heat? He got what he wanted from them. Wade is getting older. He could leave now and go extend his championship window someplace else.

    • hoov45 profile image

      hoov45 3 years ago from Denham Springs, Louisiana

      It will be indeed most interesting to see what happens with Lebron in Miami. The Spurs just creamed them last night. Why is Bosh at 6'11" only good for shooting jump shots. The only inside presence the Heat has other than Lebron is Chis Anderson. Heat need some beef inside for sure.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Yeah. For the first time I think the Heat were genuinely busted in the mouth. They expected the Spurs to curl into a ball after Game 2 just like all the other opponents. Instead they showed how good they are and just how even this series is. LeBron better buckle down.

    • profile image

      gatens23 3 years ago

      EJ, maybe you're on to something...the great Adrian Woj. at Yahoo Sports made the case for trading Chris Bosh today in an interview. Said he had value and that win or lose, everything should be on the table.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I believe in what I see, gatens. I'm convinced LeBron is on his way out if they lose this Finals and I will stick by it because this team is not as good as it used to be. To get blown out by an older Spurs group the way they did showed me they aren't. Bosh is a poser. Everybody knows it. Wade is getting hurt more and more often. Teams don't fear the Heat as much as they used to.

    • Missy Mac profile image

      Missy Mac 3 years ago from Illinois

      LeBron could come to Chicago. He would be an excellent addition with Derrick Rose. Boozer and Deng can be traded.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I totally agree. The problem is that is too logical. Logic doesn't seem to make sense to most NBA players these days.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      The title of your hub drew me in, had me chuckling. Here we go again, right? Excellent piece, EJ, nice analysis. I'm getting my popcorn ready for tonight. It will be a great game seven and awesome win for the Spurs. As far as where LeBron will go next season . . . whatever.

    • EJ Lambert profile image
      Author

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Well, as a Chicago fan, I hate to be selfish but it would be nice to see him with Derrick Rose and the Bulls. However, I'm with you. I'm cheering for the Spurs. Haven't really been watching the Finals because of my Blackhawks but I'm keeping track.

    • jeolmoz2 profile image

      Julio E Olmo Sr 3 years ago from Florida, USA

      The fact is that losing in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, turned the Miami Heat into a team of destiny in 2012 and the bond with their fans grew to epic “...Us Against The World!” proportions, as Heat Nation circled the wagons around their team against criticism , specially the newly adopted LeBron James.

      Losing in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks that year jointly with Lebron James’ very much publicized departure from Cleveland, had created a Gigantic Tidle Wave of Critics that just went to town on him-and just hammered James-and his new team, publicly for the next three years.

      And the very vocal, Cleveland Cavaliers Team Owner, Dan Gilbert was leading the charge.

      The Chosen looks very happy to be in South Beach, though, nowadays...shooting Television commercials with his family, and another clear indication of him finding himself at home, were photos of James down on one knee-like a real gentleman should-proposing to his now wife Savannah Brinson in a room full of folks.

      Lebron James has come a long, long way from his humble beginnings at Dayton, Ohio. Is unlikely that he has forgotten the hate mail and video pieces, which were all over the news.

    • jeolmoz2 profile image

      Julio E Olmo Sr 2 years ago from Florida, USA

      @EJLambert You're a prophet my friend, good job!

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