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Get Ready For Another Three Months Of LeBron James Hype

Lebron James

There had been some speculation during the NBA finals that LeBron James, who has led the Miami Heat to the NBA finals four times and won twice and been the leagues most valuable player three times, would apply for free agency after the season ended, and that’s exactly what he’s done:

Carmelo Anthony enjoyed the privilege of being the N.B.A.’s most coveted free agent for a little more than 36 hours. That ended Tuesday morning when it was revealed that LeBron James had informed the Miami Heat through his agent, Rich Paul, that he intends to exercise the early-termination option on his contract and become a free agent on July 1.

The news was not surprising — by opting out, James can explore other opportunities while putting leverage on the Heat to improve their roster — but it sent seismic tremors across the league, nonetheless. James, who has won two N.B.A. championships with the Heat, is widely regarded as the planet’s best player, and any team would love to have him.

The problem for most potential suitors, as is often the case amid the frenzy of free agency, is salary cap space. Most teams lack the financial flexibility to absorb the type of contract that James is sure to command, although he could be wooed by the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers (his former team), the Houston Rockets, the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, who have oodles of cap space and have yet to hire a head coach.

The Heat, though, remain the favorite to retain his services. James, 29, has made four trips to the N.B.A. finals in four seasons in Miami, and he seems to enjoy playing there.

I can’t say I follow the NBA closely, but it seems clear that if James doesn’t stay in Miami, then he’ll end up someplace like New York or Los Angeles. The hopes of Cavaliers fans notwithstanding,  there’s pretty much no chance he’ll be returning to Cleveland.

Whatever the decision, though, one can expect that this will lead to months of speculation from sports writers and hype on the level of that which preceded his decision to sign with Miami four years ago. Heck, ESPN may turn into the LeBron Network for the next three months.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. John Peabody says:

    Feh. It’s not hype if you don’t care. There are good, decent people who do not care a whit about the NBA.

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  2. James Joyner says:

    @John Peabody: I haven’t been a regular NBA viewer since Michael Jordan’s second retirement. Oddly, though, I’m interested in the hot stove league and the game outcomes even though I barely watch even the Finals.

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  3. Tyrell says:

    @James Joyner: I used to watch Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, and Jerry West. I have not followed the NBA since then Way over exposed and over sold.

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  4. al-Ameda says:

    I can’t say I follow the NBA closely, but it seems clear that if James doesn’t stay in Miami, then he’ll end up someplace like New York or Los Angeles. The hopes of Cavaliers fans notwithstanding, there’s pretty much no chance he’ll be returning to Cleveland.

    I’ve always thought that LA would be the final stop for Lebron James. Which is why I’m thinking that Kevin Love might take a flyer on LA, knowing that Lebron could well end up there too.

    Also, as long as Lebron doesn’t do a ‘sit-down’ with Jim Gray, I’m good with however he wants to sell himself to the public.

    The NBA is so much more interesting than the NFL.

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  5. Tyrell says:

    @al-Ameda: I differ, please.
    NASCAR, MLB, NHL.

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  6. dazedandconfused says:

    I doubt he wants to go through that crap again. Wouldn’t be surprised if he already knows where he’s going to play and this is fairly short. He could make more money staying in Miami so it’s not about that. He wants to have fun and that means winning. It will affect that team’s free agent hunting season, so it may be pretty quick. I’ll go our on a limb and say this takes the Lakers off the list. They are abysmal.

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  7. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    I differ, please.
    NASCAR, MLB, NHL.

    Are you saying that NASCAR is more interesting than the NBA?
    Or that NASCAR is more interesting than the NFL?

    To me, the most boring sports are NASCAR and golf.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Tyrell says:

    @al-Ameda: I do not usually watch a race from start to finish. I check in every do often to see how Stewart and Dale Jr are doing. If Stewart is near the front there is usually excitement. I would agree that watching a race from green to checker flag is boring, for the most part. I used to actually pay to attend the 600 miler at Charlotte.

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  9. bill says:

    @al-Ameda: golf is like ambian to me!
    back to lerron- he’s great but he has no heart or loyalty to anyone aside from him. he just wants more and more rings at anyone’s expense as he’ll make more money selling shoes. he want’s to topple jordan, that’s his reason for doing anything. that the nba let’s these guys dictate who runs the show is pretty lame and leads to people like me not even caring anymore.
    that the spurs destroyed them was kind of nice- career teammates toppling a virtual all-star team of mercenaries!

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