The car accident that was LeBron James‘ free agency has finally been cleared from the freeway. Now free agency can truly begin.
This morning James finally revealed the news the entire country was waiting for: He was returning to Northeast Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers. James had been eerily quiet in the past couple of days, saying nothing to the media and only being seen in photographs outside of his basketball camp in Las Vegas. However, it seems like he and his team have known of this decision for some time.
Here is an excerpt from Lee Jenkins piece on Sports Illustrated this morning:
But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.
In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.
LeBron is heading back to Cleveland because he missed being in Ohio (who doesn’t!) and he feels a higher calling to deliver a championship to his city. Of course, this move has ramifications all over the NBA, not just in Cleveland and Miami. Essentially, LeBron’s decision to go to Cleveland is the fallen domino. Now comes the exciting part: NBA Free Agency is OFFICIALLY open for business.
The first bit of news after James’ decision involved the Los Angeles Lakers and their pursuit of Carmelo Anthony. Anthony, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, is no longer considering the Lakers and will only be looking at the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks going forward.
This is a huge blow to the Lakers; however, it is not unforeseen. Landing Carmelo Anthony, especially with the roster as currently constructed, was always going to be a long shot. Now that the Lakers are out of contention they must turn their attention to Plan B, which includes pursuits of Eric Bledsoe, Isaiah Thomas, and Lance Stephenson.
The Lakers will also turn their attention to Pau Gasol and Nick Young, both of whom the Lakers would like to re-sign. Gasol, for what it’s worth, seems to be more interested in signing with a contender. He is rumored to be talking with the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the San Antonio Spurs.
The biggest beneficiary from the James decision this morning has to be the Houston Rockets. Houston is currently waiting on Chris Bosh to commit to playing for them and will sign him before matching the offer sheet for Chandler Parsons. Of course, the Rockets must complete two trades before they sign Bosh. First the must complete the trade with the New Orleans Pelicans and send away Omer Asik. Next, the have to trade away PG Jeremy Lin. According to reports, the Lakers may be interested in Lin’s services.
Expect for NBA Free Agency to open up in a big way over the next 48 hours. The flood gates have been opened. Hold on to your hats.