Unrestricted Free Agent. Scary words for Heat Nation.

I’d like to quote Tommy Tomlinson from Forbes because I like how he put it:

“LeBron has decided to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat, making him (for the second time) the most important free agent in the history of the NBA.”

All of us said that we expected this. I said it. You said it.  Yet, if I expected it, why do I feel so uneasy about it?  I guess it’s because I thought the opt out announcement was going to look more like, “LeBron, Wade, Bosh Opt Out and Resign With Heat For Pay Cut” or something along those lines.  For some reason I thought it might be done in tandem with the team – announced in such a way so as not to cause panic in the fan base. (Ha!)

But that was just a legacy thought of the old “If Miami wins the championship” mind set.

This is different, obviously. This feels more like a genuine threat. “Get your ducks in a row, or else!”

Or else what?

Wow.

It seems harsh. But you have to be somewhat cutthroat if you want to win not 4, not 5, not 6 titles.

But the two things that are supposed to comfort Heat fans actually don’t provide much relief.

  • The potential for LeBron to re-sign and create cap flexibility for Miami will only sound fantastic when it actually happens.
  • The idea that LeBron only opted out to apply pressure provides little consolation as well, because what if Miami doesn’t respond with the right answers?  Is he going to leave?  The answer to that right now seems like, “Yes.”

Take a second, Heat fan, and imagine LeBron being presented with several offers that most players wouldn’t be able to say no to.

Yeah, it kind of sucks.

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So which film are we about to watch?

The rollicking comedy disaster flick?

is-it-the-end
Or the love story with the happy ending?

together

Which one would we like to see the most? There are different answers for different people.

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Let us go through the wants of a Heat fan, a LeBron fan*, an average NBA fan, and a hater.

*Does not apply to LeBron fans wanting him to come to their city.  Sorry bros – gotta draw the line somewhere.

ON LEBRON JAMES

  • HEAT FAN: Re-sign with Miami for as little as possible.
  • LEBRON FAN: Re-sign with Miami for as little as possible.
  • AVERAGE NBA FAN:  He should stay in Miami or go back to Cleveland.  He shouldn’t have to take a pay cut.
  • HATER: Die in a plane crash, or run off to the Knicks (or any other mismanaged franchise so we can mock him endlessly).

ON DWYANE WADE

  • HEAT FAN: Re-sign with Miami for as little as possible.
  • LEBRON FAN: Re-sign with Miami for as little as possible.
  • AVERAGE NBA FAN:  He’s not opting out.  He’s not going to sacrifice that kind of money when he knows he’ll never see it again.  But he should take a pay cut.
  • HATER: Opt in and tell LeBron you’re tired of being a sidekick. Get that paper, homie!

ON CHRIS BOSH

  • HEAT FAN: Re-sign with Miami for as little as possible.
  • LEBRON FAN: Re-sign with Miami for as little as possible.
  • AVERAGE NBA FAN:  I can’t believe he makes more than LeBron.  That needs to stop.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he went to Houston.
  • HATER: Don’t care, he’s still super soft regardless of what he does.

OVERALL BEST CASE SCENARIO

  • HEAT FAN:  Big 3 opts out and re-signs for small dollars thereby allowing Miami to sign some snazzy free agent or two.
  • LEBRON FAN: Same as above.
  • AVERAGE NBA FAN:  It would be more fun if they broke up, but they’re probably going to stick together.
  • HATER: LeBron shreds a knee in the offseason, or runs off to the Knicks (or any other mismanaged franchise so we can mock him and Heat fans endlessly).

ALTERNATIVES

  • HEAT FAN OPTION 1:  Bosh opts out along with James. Wade opts in. James and Bosh take slight pay cuts. Miami still has room to navigate free agency but not as much.
  • HEAT FAN OPTION 2:  Bosh and Wade opt in.  LeBron re-signs w/ pay cut.  Might still be able to pick up a fancy addition.
  • HEAT FAN OPTION 3:  Bosh and Wade opt in.  LeBron re-signs for max.  Ouchcore.
  • HEAT FAN OPTION 4:  Bosh and Wade opt in.  LeBron re-signs for max.  Arison says, “Tax this, bitches!” and spends wildly like a Russian.
  • HEAT FAN OPTION 5:  Bosh and Wade opt out and re-sign for less money.  LeBron re-signs for max.  Might still be able to pick up a sexy piece.
  • HEAT FAN OPTION 6:  Just get the Big 3 to return, Pat!  I don’t even care how!
  • HEAT FAN OPTION 7:  If 1 or 2 of the Big 3 leave we’ll have the cap space t0 make moves in free agency, but life will suck for a while.
  • LEBRON FAN OPTION 1:  James re-signs with Miami for max money.
  • LEBRON FAN OPTION 2:  Well, on this Sunday we do pledge allegiance to a king, and not just any king. This is James the King Sunday and we pledge allegiance to our Lord LeBron James, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, our supreme Savior.
  • AVERAGE NBA FAN:  Whatever.
  • HATER:  The Big 3 return but Miami isn’t able to hit their targets in free agency thereby allowing continued mocking until proven otherwise.

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Did that cover everything?  Probably not.

Okay. Enough with the drollery. Time to get serious. Prediction time.

What movie should we expect?

Drumroll….

heart-of-hearts  James and Wade Rekindle Their Bromance  heart-of-hearts  

together

Now why would I think that?

For the same reasons everyone else does.

Well, that isn’t exactly true.  I have one other reason.

I think I’ve discovered an indicator of LeBron’s intentions.  It’s unscientific.  It’s only a hypothesis.  It’s a little stalker-ish.  Nevertheless, it makes sense.

Here, have a look:

bay-1

bay-3

bay-5

bay-2

bay-6

bay-4

LeSunworship-3

LeSunworship-1

LeSunworship-4

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And here’s the only picture he’s posted of his Akron view:

akron

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Even a rocket surgeon can put 2 & 2 together here.  You don’t keep posting the same thing on Instagram if you’re not absolutely in love with it – and proud to be.  LeBron is clearly mad about the Biscayne Bay locale.

So…

The Heat already have a lot of things going for them – they can offer James the most money (if I’m not mistaken), Miami is a destination city for free agents, they have great players who are great friends, they have great management & they have a chance to make history and advance to 5 straight Finals, etc. So combine all of that with an off the court life that appears to be perfect and dreamy and you have to ask yourself, “why would he leave?”

He probably wouldn’t.

Probably.

All we need now is for someone to point out that he can also have a house overlooking the ocean in Southern California…

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