Total dollars tied up in contracts through 2010-’11 season: $17,782,904
If James goes to New York, it will be a decision based solely on money and the need to be in the spotlight even more than he already is. The reason the Knicks are at number five, though, is because of the amount of work that needs to be done in order for them to be one of the best teams in the game. If the they don’t bring back David Lee, they’ll only have four players returning and that includes Mr. $11 million waste of life Eddy Curry. But bringing in James obviously isn’t enough. Either Chris Bosh or Amar’e Stoudemire must come, too. There has also been some speculation about Tony Parker being on the block after losing his job to George Hill. That would a huge addition as well, but I’m not sure that even the Knicks would be able to pay James, Bosh/Amar’e, Parker and still be able to bring back Lee and 10 other players.
Starting five (barring any future transactions): Douglas, James, Gallinari, Lee (if re-signed), N/A
Bench: Wilson Chandler
Total dollars tied up in contracts through 2010-’11 season: $22,211,940
Leave it up to Jay-Z to make LeBron’s billion dollar aspirations come true. The fact that the two have been friends for some time only leads me to believe that New Jersey could very well be where King James ends up. However, even with Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, I still think the Nets are in a position similar to the Knicks (although not as extreme) in that there’s plenty of work to be done to make them a contender. Missing out on the John Wall sweepstakes doesn’t help either.
Starting five (barring any future transactions): Harris, Lee, James, Yi, Lopez
Bench: Terrence Williams, 3rd overall pick in 2010 NBA Draft
3. Cleveland Cavs
Total dollars tied up in contracts through 2010-’11 season: $66,452,524
Everyone knows that James will continue to win if he stays in Cleveland. The only problem is that the winning is limited to the regular season only. After back-to-back years with the best record in the NBA, LBJ failed to make a Finals appearance. There is a solid supporting cast on his current team, but no one to play Pippen for the King.
Starting five (barring any future transactions): Williams, Parker, James, Jamison, Varejao
Bench: West, Hickson, Moon, Gibson, O’Neal & Z (if re-signed)
Total dollars tied up in contracts through 2010-’11 season: $31,861,826
If the Bulls can somehow land LeBron, they do a lot more than bring in the game’s best talent. You would take the best player off of the best team in the East (who’s also in your division) in the Cleveland Cavaliers, killing two birds with one stone. All that’s left now is Orlando and Boston as your main competitors. The Bulls managed to give the Cavs a hard time in the playoffs, and that was against James. I can only imagine how good they would be with him. Derrick Rose is the star sidekick that LBJ has desperately lacked, and Joakim Noah is emerging as one of the top centers in the game. Throw in the possible addition of Phil Jackson and you’ve got to be thinking Finals.
Starting five (barring any future transactions): Rose, Hinrich, James, Gibson, Noah
Bench: Deng, James Johnson, Brad Miller (if re-signed)
1. Miami Heat*
Total dollars tied up in contracts through 2010-’11 season: $24,281,339
Let’s face it. LeBron and Wade together would combine to form arguably the most lethal combo the NBA has ever seen. The asterisk was put there because like James, Wade is also a free agent if he doesn’t pick up his player option for next season. Excluding him, the Heat would only have two players under contract for next season, so they have the flexibility to make the dynamic duo happen. Then, the team could bring back O’Neal at a huge pay cut from the $23 million he got last season, and also return guys like Chalmers, Haslem and others for cheap. Another thing worth noting is the posissible return of Pat Riley. He has stated that he would come back under the right circumstances. I’d say a King James/Flash combo would fit the bill. On a different note, I think it’s also a safe bet to say that James is also a fan of the no state income tax Florida offers…
Starting five (barring any future transactions): Wade, N/A, James, Beasley, N/A
Bench: Daequan Cook