Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
LeBron says he can’t envision leaving Miami. Can you? What do you see, this summer and beyond?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: He’s staying put. This ain’t 2010 anymore. James has checked off the big thing from his bucket list (multiple NBA titles) and doesn’t need to be the chaser anymore. Miami is a destination market for most NBA players anyway, and more so with LeBron as its sun, exerting real gravitational pull on those in search of rings. At this point, LeBron is like Moe Greene (“No, I buy you out, you don’t buy me out!”) but with the clout and game of the Corleones.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: As long as puppet master Pat Riley is there pulling all the right strings, I believe LeBron stays in Miami and eventually recruits new partners to replace Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Where’s he going to go, Cleveland? Really? Chicago? The Lakers? I don’t see it. It makes no sense to hopscotch around the league when he’s already got Pat Riley, sunshine and palm trees. Yes, Dwyane Wade is on the decline, but instead of going elsewhere, LeBron can recruit any talent he wants to South Beach. That’s what I envision.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: You’re asking the guy who for the longest time didn’t think he would leave Cleveland, so definitely bet everything on this prediction. But since you did ask: He does not become a free agent this summer specifically to put off the decision about whether to stay or go and give the Heat every chance to show they can build a bridge to the future. He stays on in a situation he apparently likes a lot but retains the option to change his mind before too much longer.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: No. Dwyane Wade’s health is obviously a concern and the importance of Shane Battier retiring (if Shane Battier does indeed retire) shouldn’t be understated, because he’s a key cog in their positionless rotation. But success in the NBA starts at the top, and LeBron should have confidence that Micky Arison, Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra will put him in a position to compete for more championships.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: For the life of me I cannot figure out why LeBron would leave what he has helped build in Miami. There is no reason to flee the scene in search of championship glory elsewhere when the Heat have the chance to reload and rebuild another contender around James starting with the moves they make this summer. So no, I can’t see it. I can’t see him departing Miami for greener pastures in … I don’t know where it is he’s supposed to go that could provide a better platform than the one he’s created for himself in Miami. People keep talking about LeBron’s potential move but I’m much more interested in seeing what Pat Riley has up his sleeve and who he will try and lure to Miami to work with LeBron in the next phase of his career.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com All Ball blog: As I’ve said all along, I don’t think there’s any way he leaves Miami this summer. And to be honest, I don’t think it’s really close. I understand that Cleveland is basically home for him, but he left before, so the need to play nearby apparently isn’t all that important. Why stay? The Heat have shown an ability to continually put together a championship-level team since LeBron’s arrival, and that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon. Besides, have you seen those Samsung commercials? He’s got an infinity pool right by the water! You really think he’s giving that up?
Philipp Dornhegge, NBA Deutschland: Let’s start with what I don’t really see at this point — and that’s another successful title defense. What I do see, however, is Dwyane Wade on a downward trajectory (even though he has his occasional Wade games or moments) and an aging supporting cast which won’t be able to sustain that defensive intensity for much longer. Miami will have to change some of its pieces in the near future, and you never know how that plays out. Ultimately though, there are no guarantees for LeBron anywhere else, either. Unless he really wants to follow in the footsteps of some of those Laker legends, I think he stays — possibly for the rest of his career.
Davide Chinellato, NBA Italia: Honestly, I don’t see right now a team that could attract LeBron the way Miami attracted him in 2010. The Heat went to LeBron with a plan to win and win now. Do you see a team that can offer him the same next summer? I don’t. So I think LeBron will most likely keep his talents in South Beach next season. But Dwyane Wade’s health will play a key role in his decision: the longer D-Wade is the great player we know, the longer LeBron will stay.
Adriano Albuquerque, NBA Brasil: From day one, the idea of LeBron leaving his destination of choice seemed far-fetched to me, but then again, so did Miami putting together a superteam with three All-Stars in their primes when it happened. It will come down to what happens in the postseason; if Dwyane Wade does look washed up and they fall to Indiana, LeBron might see that it’s gonna be hard to rebuild the team to championship level and could test his options on the market. If Miami gets to the Finals again, winning or losing, I feel either way LeBron will think they still got it, will just need to replace some pieces, and stays.