A capsule look at LeBron James’ potential suitors in free agency
Why they’d land James: James has spent his entire career in Cleveland and is comfortable there, saying the Cavs have an “edge” in re signing him. . Close to his hometown of Akron. . Able to offer him about $30 million more than any other team over the life of a max deal. . Owner Dan Gilbert has shown he’s willing to spend to build a winner. . Best regular season record in the NBA each of the last two seasons.
Why they’d lose James: With Coach Mike Brown fired and still not replaced, although reports say Brian Shaw is close to becoming coach and General Manager Danny Ferry leaving since the season ended, the Cavs have the look of a team in turmoil. . Moves to win now have left few easy opportunities to upgrade the roster. . Not as much talent on the roster as other teams courting James.
Outlook: It was difficult during the season to find many people who thought James would leave. Since the season ended, it’s become difficult to find those who think he’s staying. The Cavs have to count on his loyalty to home.
Why they’d land James: A good core, with All Star center Chris Kaman, 2009 No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin, and guards Baron Davis and Eric Gordon. . Los Angeles would provide numerous entertainment opportunities.
Why they’d lose James: A longtime laughingstock in pro sports and the clear little brother in its own building to the NBA champion Lakers. . Donald Sterling is considered one of the worst and cheapest owners in sports. . No coach in place, having not yet replaced Mike Dunleavy. . It would be tough to unseat Kobe Bryant as the most popular player in the city.wholesale jerseys
Outlook: There’s certainly reasons for James to be intrigued by the Clippers, but just as many to be scared off by them.
Why they’d land James: Enough money to afford James, another max player and still have enough left over for a solid third piece. . Trendy spots, great weather and no state income tax make Miami a favorite of many NBA players. . Good friends with Dwyane Wade, whom the Heat expect to keep. . Strong leadership at the top with team owner Micky Arison and president Pat Riley who hinted he’d consider a return to coaching if certain free agents requested it.
Why they’d lose James: There isn’t much there besides Wade as a result of salary clearing moves. . James may not want to come to Wade’s team.
Outlook: Wade and James both have talked about playing with each other, and here’s their chance. But James would have to be sold they could build a competitive roster around them, and he may prefer beating Wade to joining him.
Why they’d land James: Excitement of new Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who vows the Nets will become a global team. . Entertainer and part owner Jay Z and James are longtime friends. . With center Brook Lopez, point guard Devin Harris and No. 3 pick Derrick Favors, the Nets have some good young pieces. . Expected to begin playing in new arena in Brooklyn, which James calls his favorite borough, in 2012.
Why they’d lose James: Will spend the next two years in Newark while waiting for Brooklyn arena to be built. . Coming off a 12 70 season that was one of worst in NBA history. . With team president Rod Thorn expected to retire next month, there is no clear leader of the basketball operations.
Outlook: The Nets might be the favorites if they were already in Brooklyn. But playing near New York isn’t the same as playing in New York, and the difference might be enough to make James look elsewhere.
Why they’d lose James: Mired in franchise worst stretch of nine straight losing seasons. . Moves to clear salary have left little remaining talent. . One of the league’s poorest defensive teams, and James values good defense. . Enormous media presence may be a turnoff to James.
Outlook: The Knicks believe they’ll get someone maybe even two guys.
But they haven’t had a winning season since James came into the NBA and have little talent to put around him, so no matter how much James loves New York, he may not love the Knicks.