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TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale of the Tape: LeBron James’ Next Decision

The NBA Finals are over, with LeBron James and the Miami Heat getting trounced in five games by the San Antonio Spurs. It could mark the end of the era for the “Big Three” in Miami, as James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh could all opt out and become unrestricted free agents. As the Heat get older and more dependent on LeBron’s prowess, is staying in Miami the right choice for James?

Miami
Another NBA Team
2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
Teammates
The “Big Three” often saw LeBron doing it all this year. Wade looked old in the Finals, and Bosh disappears at times. No supporting cast whatsoever, so they’ll need offseason help.
Winner James could pick where he goes, and thus quasi-decide who his teammates are. He could also repeat 2010 and convince someone to join him in another city.
Front Office
Winner Erik Spoelstra has to be considered one of the better NBA coaches. And no team president tops Pat Riley.
There is a lot of incompetence in the NBA, and anyone with the cap room for LeBron has no one with the pedigree of Riley.
Leverage
LeBron holds the face cards, but Wade or Bosh each have an ace of their decks: if either opts into their contracts next year, any chance of signing a good free agent is gone.
Winner If LeBron becomes a free agent, he could go anywhere he wants for a max contract. Being the best player in the world has that perk.
Money
Winner If he wants to win another title in Miami, then Wade, Bosh & James all need to take less money to sign free agents. However, no state tax in Florida.
Few places have no state tax. He could get a max deal, but would also take a pay cut if it meant signing another marquee name.
Chance To Win
Winner This year’s Heat team had major flaws, but still cruised through a very weak Eastern Conference. He could easily return to a 5th straight Finals.
If he stays in the East, his team would automatically become favorites. The West? It’s so deep that he would be in a dogfight every round.

The Winner Is

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
Winner Miami
3 out of 5

Final Verdict: Stay in Miami (3 of 5) It’s close, but if each of the Big Three takes pay cuts and they gain one or two pieces, they are championship favorites with San Antonio. Even if they do not get a big name, the Heat with James are still likely to run through the East. Staying put is the best option for now.

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