And the answer is South Beach! I was on a long drive last night and could not help but listen to the LeBron James media hype like every other basketball fan hoping they would get the prized free agent. Sure, if you get LeBron your team automatically becomes a contender. Look at Cleveland with over 60 wins the last two seasons. LeBron should certainly make an impact. But, as I listened I heard LeBron tell us that he "chose" Miami because they had a chance to win now. He then proceeded to tell us what a great job they had done freeing up cap space to get him. Who didn't?
Donnie Walsh of the Knicks basically had to work magic to undo a huge mess the previous GM spent a lot of time creating. The Nets and Rod Thorn freed up space as well. Watching the Knicks last season there was a lot of talk about getting one of the "Big 3" free agents, James, Wade or Bosh. But was that really possible. Did anyone have a chance? Or, did these player get together and decide collectively what they were going to do? Sure does seem that way. And is this a fair scenario. I know if the teams got together and decided collectively to do something like this there would be lawsuits coming so fast and furious it would make your basketball deflate.
If I sound like a frustrated Knick fan its because I probably am. I have to admit I did not watch a lot of basketball the last few years because of the pain and suffering. Watching your team collect 29 wins is not exactly fun. They should be a little more competitive this year so maybe I will be able to stomach a little more.
Was this the right move for LeBron James? Sure now he has a chance to win a championship but at what cost. He will be a rich man, there is not doubt about that. The balance of power in the east has certainly moved south a bit from Boston. If Miami can figure out how to spend the minimum and get a few players who can play with the big 3 then maybe they do win a championship. Maybe three big players can learn to co-exist and share the ball. But with names like James, Wade and Bosh on the floor as three of your starting five are you not expected to win a championship? What does this do to LeBron's legacy? Winning is not an absolute, but if there are multiple championships as LeBron alluded to does he get the nice glossy picture on Sports Illustrated or ESPN Magazine or is it a threesome. Does the legacy say of course he won look who he played with. Or, is it LeBron helps Wade and Bosh win championships. I guess it all depends on how you look at it.
And what about the basketball master with the Miami tan. Pat Riley of course. Another New York disaster. He now has the pieces to win a championship. Not sure if he has the right coach but he has three good pieces. If things get a little slippery and the team does not look like they are going to win 65-70 games does Pat Riley again assume the coaching role and perhaps earn another ring. All I can tell you is Kobe look out. The challenge has been laid down. It seems to all if you want to win another ring you are going to have to go through Miami.