No Free Agent Tour For LeBron–He’s Missing Out
LeBron James has determined that he will not go on a “free agent tour” when the NBA free agency window opens on July 1. It would be very easy for him to bask in the sunlight and enjoy all the fun and perks a “tour” would bring.
Personally, I think it’s pretty selfish to have the teams come out on his terms. Besides the fact that it’s a waste of resources for a team to leave their offices to hold an “interview” — the “front” is too easy.
LeBron has claimed that he wants to “talk basketball” and avoid all the hoopla that a “recruiting trip” would have. That sounds nice, but he can only truly be the center of attention if everyone is coming to him.
When teams start meeting LeBron in Akron, Ohio — starting July 1 — they’ll have left behind the “red carpet.” However, they will be without the essential questions that LeBron needs answered.
What questions are those?
It Won’t Be “Crockett And Tubbs” In Miami
The Heat hadn’t planned any parties or celebrations for LeBron, but why would they? They have South Beach; it’s 85 degrees all the time; it never rains, and he can go get a tattoo on TV.
Plus, he could have a chance to play with Dwyane Wade. Batman and Robin? Starksy and Hutch? Crockett and Tubbs?
Besides the fact that neither one of these guys could swing the white jacket with the rolled sleeves, I think this is a bad idea. It sound nice — in theory — but it’s a bad idea.
If LeBron went down to Miami and walked through the Heat’s practice facility long enough to run into, say, Udonis Haslem, he’d probably learn something. Haslem couldn’t like when LeBron asked, “How’s it playing with D-Wade?”
Haslem would have to be honest. “Umm, when we get behind D-Wade starts pushing too hard. It’s like playing with 2005-2008 Kobe.”
Just look at Wade’s priorities when he told J.A. Adande his free-agency intentions:
“It’s going to be fit with me first. I’ve made that very clear. Do I want to leave? Nope. Mmm-hmm. I want to be in Miami. That’s where it starts.”
I bet that LeBron’s conversation with Haslem would conclude with, “D doesn’t want you to have the ball. Just think about it, man.” It would leave LeBron with a sour taste, but it would be honest.
Heat President, Pat Riley, is going to travel to Akron to meet with LeBron, but he won’t mention D-Wade’s selfish tendencies. The closest thing LeBron will hear to honesty is Riley talking about coaching — an allusion to speculation that Riley will fire Erik Spoelstra and take the bench.
We know it can’t be “Crockett and Tubbs” in Miami when there’s only one ball. Although I would love the chance to laugh at LeBron and Wade trying to share the ball — it’s a bad idea. Imagine Don Johnson sharing a gun with Phillip Michael Thomas.
If you’re a Heat fan and you want to bang your head against the wall — beg for LeBron. If you want to win — beg for Chris Bosh.
New York, New York–Or Not
The Knicks had a lavish, extravagant party planned for LeBron when the free-agency period started July 1. That party has been canceled. LeBron isn’t going on a “tour” and the Knicks just lost their best chance to sign him.
The only way to get a camera-hog/ego-maniac like LeBron to appreciate New York is to get him in the city. Spotting him in a Yankees cap just isn’t enough.
What would LeBron learn if he were to travel all the way to Manhattan? Well, assuming he talks to coaches, he would learn that Mike D’Antoni is not “all that.”
D’Antoni had Steve Nash fall in his lap in Phoenix. Nash made him look good. D’Antoni ran to the Knicks for the money. The Knicks still suck and the Suns, sans-D’Antoni, beat the Spurs in the playoffs.
Deep down inside we all know that LeBron would take one look at Mike D’Antoni and think, “I’ll have to get this guy fired.” For someone who can’t close a 2nd-round playoff series — that’s too much work.
LeBron’s “inner-circle” has surely told him that the Knicks can afford two “max contracts.” This means he can get a “Pippen to his Jordan” like Chris Bosh or Joe Johnson in New York.
As much as I’ve crapped on LeBron for being selfish and child-like, I think he craves a coach befitting his skill. He watched the Lakers win championship #5 of the 21st Century under Phil Jackson.
LeBron is stubborn, but he ain’t stupid. He wants to be “all that” and knows he can’t be without a great coach. Instead of getting the same look of ignorance he got from Mike Brown, he’ll just get a sales pitch from Donnie Walsh — not a guarantee.
The closest thing to a guarantee comes from Walt Frazier — a Knicks demi-god:
“I think LeBron would gain in stature by coming to the Knicks. I think if he signed with the Knicks, he’d be right up there with Kobe. By being in L.A. and playing for the Lakers and winning four titles already, I think Kobe is above LeBron. I think playing in L.A., in that market, does that for him. But I think coming to New York would help LeBron get to be on Kobe’s level.”
The party would have been fun, the media craze would have been nice, but the conversation afterward would have sent LeBron running. D’Antoni just isn’t enough. New York — be glad that you didn’t get your hopes up!
The Winds Are Blowing Towards Chicago
Chicago didn’t have any celebrations planned. There’s no fanfare surrounding the Bulls. They won six championships in ’90s that are surrounded by pure mediocrity. Basically, it’s Jordan, then everybody else.
If LeBron wants to be the “new Jordan” then there’s no better place to “summit” Jordan than Chicago. However, he’s not going to visit Chicago — as far as we know — so he’s missing out.
Joakim Noah could tell him, “Listen man, nobody wants to win a championship as bad as me. I was the MOP of the Final Four man. We can do this man.” Noah can appeal to LeBron with his genuine competitive fire — which, I believe, is stronger than LeBron’s.
Derrick Rose can tell LeBron, “Listen, I feed you the ball and we win. You don’t have to hog it all game. Just give me the ball. Give me. Give me the ball, LeBron, and we can do this.”
LeBron can have his Pippen (Rose) and his Kukoc/Longley/Grant/energy-guy (Noah) and they can crush people. Plus, the Bulls just hired Tom Thibodeau away from Boston to be their next Head Coach.
Now he can play with winners, be coached by a winner and not have to carry the load every night. LeBron has this one figured out because the Daily Herald reported that LeBron “placed a call…to Derrick Rose.” He knows the potential in Chicago–it’s so obvious.
LeBron doesn’t need a party or even an “official visit” to figure this one out.
He wants to be famous really bad. In fact, I still think fame is “1A” whereas winning is “1B,” but LeBron’s getting some good advice. He can be more than Jordan — he can be the guy who resurrected the Bulls if he wins in Chicago.
That’s not the “second man” — that’s the “second coming.”
He’s Leaving Cleveland
In the end, I really think LeBron’s people will turn his head towards Chicago and tell him to pick up shop and run there. There’s no reason not to, and all the pieces are in place. You can’t argue it.
Scottie Pippen could only speak out of fear of being “dethroned:”
“I don’t know if LeBron James fits with the Chicago Bulls. I don’t know if I want Derrick Rose to give the ball up and let LeBron run the show. There are some great free agents out there. For me, you have to have the right fit. You just can’t go and get the best player. You got to have chemistry in this game.”
New York could roll out 4000 red carpets, but that won’t make Mike D’Antoni a good coach. Miami can give him 10,000 strippers on loan, and that won’t make him “play nice” with D-Wade, but nothing gives him a chance to be “it” like Chicago does.
All Chicago has to do is remind him whose statue is outside the United Center — and ask him if he wants one too. Scottie knows that — and that’s why he’s afraid.
Afraid LeBron can rewrite the Bulls’ history books.