Blogtable: Odds on LeBron staying

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.

BLOGTABLE: LeBron, staying or bolting? | Banking on the Draft | Wrangling over an RFA

VIDEO: Sekou Smtih and Rick Kamla discuss LeBron James’ looming free agency

> What do you think are the odds – give me some numbers – that LeBron plays for the Heat next season? If he’s not in Miami, where do you see him playing? Why do you say that?

Steve Aschburner, I’m at 96 percent confidence that LeBron James stays right where he is next season and even beyond. His days of chasing rings through relocation need to be over — moving again would be unseemly and his legacy would shift from number of championships won to the mercenary way in which he stalked them. More than that, he doesn’t need to chase. The help he needs should come to Miami now, a market with all the necessary advantages to attract whatever and whomever James needs. He, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh conceivably could take massive pay cuts — think Spurs’ Big 3 prices — and wind up with all the depth, shooting and young legs they’d need to contend for another half-dozen years. As for that 4 percent opening I left: Clippers.

Fran Blinebury, 90 percent.  Maybe I’m being naive or just downright foolish, but I think he appreciates what Pat Riley did in enabling him to win two championships, believes in Riley’s drive and determination to put the Heat on the right track, and also realizes that, even with their problems, they were still in The Finals this year.  Also, the East is still the East.  If he leaves, it means LeBron is just chasing rings and the most ready-made place to do that, pardner, would be Houston.

Jeff Caplan, Call me nuts, but I’m putting it at 95 percent that he’s back with the Heat. Thing is, I can’t see LeBron in another uniform. Chicago? And forever play in the shadow of his idol Michael Jordan? Just don’t see it. It’d be silly for LeBron to take his talents West; just too tough. Who else realistically is left in the East? The Wizards? That’d actually be a pretty solid choice, but Washington has been involved in zero — that we know of — discussion of LBJ. Toronto? Miami is the only logical choice. If the Big 3 negotiate new deals, they can make room for Kyle Lowry and bring in other low-cost reinforcements​ such as Shawn Marion.

Scott Howard-Cooper, 60 percent. Something that indicates the Heat are the favorite but far from in command. The problem is, I don’t see an obvious landing spot if he leaves Miami. Sure, the Clippers make sense, but how may salaries will they have to move to clear cap space? At that point, will the Heat have a better angle on another championship than the Clips do on their first? I think he gives Pat Riley one more season, then re-assesses and maybe leaves in July 2015.

John Schuhmann, 90 percent. A potential move to Chicago or Houston is intriguing, but the most likely scenario is that James stays in Miami, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh take pay cuts, and Pat Riley adds another impact player or two. Though James left Cleveland high and dry in 2010, he doesn’t seem like the mercenary type. He’s comfortable in Miami, where a system built around him is in place and where his team became the first to make four straight Finals in 27 years. You can pick apart the Heat’s issues (and I did that quite a bit over the last two months), but they just need a little more help to keep competing for championships.

Sekou Smith, NBA.comI’m calling it 50-50 after getting burned on the original “Decision.” It’s hard to imagine him in another uniform, though, after four straight years of No. 6 in that Heat jersey playing to the final day each season. The Heat have to be considered the favorite to … keep him, I guess. But experience with LeBron in free agency has taught me well. Nothing lasts forever, and that goes for the Big 3 and their run. Cleveland, for so many reasons, is the place that has to be tugging at the heartstrings of not only LeBron but his entire family. But this is a business decision, a choice that is more than anything about his continued professional success and where he can best realize the immense potential that remains. So if he’s not going to continue in Miami, his next stop has to be in a place where there is a championship structure either already in place or in need of that one player, uh … LeBron, that pushes a team there, immediately. As preposterous as it feels typing these words, I think he either goes home to finish what he started in Cleveland or stays with the Heat. Anything else, before we know who does whatever is necessary to land him, is beyond what I can wrap my mind around at this time.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blog: I’m not a gambler (as far as you guys know) so I don’t even know how odds really work, but I’ll put it the chances at 90 percent that LeBron returns to Miami. This is based on no inside information, just based on several observations. I understand LeBron being from Akron and that giving the Cavs some sort of interest, but I wonder if he just forgot about that comic sans thing? LeBron went to Miami and talked about it being a long-term thing (“not one, not two,” etcetera etcetera), and his work there is not done. LeBron opting out is fun fodder for Twitter and talk radio and all that stuff, but honestly, it was a smart business move for LeBron whether or not he intends to stay in Miami. And I think he intends to stay.


  1. Clau says:

    I think that he can go where ever hi likes, because the NBA is all about making money by the owners and when they did not need you any more they trade you.

  2. George gonzalvez says:

    Chances are 100% that Lebron stays in Miami!! Ray Charles could see that!! If he left Miami, he’d only hurt his Legacy!!

    • erika says:

      Whatever you wasn’t hollering that when he left Cleveland… If he stay so be it but y’all kill me when you say he go hurt is legacy because he is not he can play where ever and Miami ain’t a basketball city anyway they don’t even stick arounddor the game to wns half the time its all about status when you go to a Miami game

  3. Donald says:

    He will go to the Knicks and Carmelo will stay with the Knicks. The Knicks have already started to unload the big salary people. The Knicks will do what Miami did, have 2-3 stars and then have some low salary players to stay around the cap. The Knicks need a real championship team. It been a long time since we one a NBA title.

  4. Eric says:

    I don’t think a good player need the pay cut to get the champion. The Miami is aging team. If he stay this year to win, how about the following year? He always has the same trouble to stay with pay cut to get the Champion and the team is going down with the aging.
    Cavalier is the promising young team plus he can bring Carmelo Anthony to go with him there. Cavalier has Irving, Deng, Plus couple top draft is good enough for him reestablish his legacy. Unfortunately the owner is the same one.

  5. Jason says:

    Well his agent is in the business of making money, so I doubt he’s going to take a pay cut to stay there. How many of you guys would take a 50% pay cut to stay at your current job, rather than get your current salary (or more) to go somewhere else? Also, if I was Wade or Bosh and Lebron said “hey, you guys wanna get paid half of what you’re making now so we can win a couple of rings…or go somewhere else to get enough money to buy that new yacht?” If Wade and Bosh would have opted out at the same time, MAYBE that means he’s staying, but he simple fact he opted out first (and only one so far) shows me he wants to go somewhere else. Sorry Heat fans.

  6. Smallest Testicles says:

    lebron james cant even win their team by himself

  7. Deutztony says:

    Lebron James should stay with the Miami Heat, and lessen his paycheck for let’s say 30 to 40% to make room for new players in the team. They need big, young, energetic players and also veterans like Ray Allen. The Heat should be a mixture of young and veteran players for the next season.

  8. Ben G says:

    My money is that the best player in the NBA is finally going to sign his max-max contract. The Heat are most likely the ones who will give it to him. They’ll have to pay luxury tax for a couple years, because Wade knows he’s not going to get a contract that’s better than the one he has. I’ve got to think he takes the money for 2 more years – maybe the Heat trade him as an “expiring contract” next off-season. (Heat have used up their amnesty player for this CBA.) Bosh is probably worth what he’s getting paid to someone, so I don’t know if he opts out, but if he opts in trading Bosh is probably your best chance to improve your overall roster strength for next season.

    My off bet is that the big 3 chose winning over money again, and they all take a paycut to sign Melo.

  9. Lebron James says:

    I will go to Bobcats so Shut Up!

  10. CHINA MAN says:

    Lebron to africa ?

  11. roudberries says:

    i think LeBron is going to Portland Trail Blazers.

  12. bord says:

    lebron will play chess to avoid injury

  13. Yusa says:

    Lebron is not going anywhere. Heat need to adjust the roster, get rid of Oden and Chalmers, get Mike Miller back, a veteran point guard and a decent center. They need to adjust their roster. Playing small in this league might be effective at times but not that best option. Lebron won’t go anywhere until the Heat can’t even reach Finals. Right now, He has the best possible team that he can have. I really hope Pat Riley will coach the Heat next season.

  14. M1978 says:

    I don’t think that LBJ is leaving Miami. To be realistic he would have only three or four realistic destinations (Chicago, Houston, Clippers maybe?) which can offer him the chance to win another title. The problem with the Heat is Wade because his health is detoriating quite quickly and he can’t perform that good anymore than a couple of years before. So Riley has to get really good bench players not only to support LBJ and Bosh but to compensate Wades slowly worsening performance too.

  15. charless702 says:

    I really don’t see Wade giving up that kind of money. I doubt very seriously that he’ll ever even come close to a $12,000,000 contract again, much less $20,000,000 a year for two years. I really don’t see Wade cutting his pay in half, Bosh dropping $5-7M and Lebron dropping $3-5M. Even if they do decide to give up millions of dollars, who are they going to pick up to make them a better team? Melo? Would you waste all that money saved for a single guy? Also what would you really want Melo taking up 50% of Lebron’s touches? Honestly I keep hearing about how they should all take pay cuts to bring in more talent, name me 3 unrestricted free agents who could have made this team a championship team this year? The way they got beat down by the Spurs none of those 3 would have made a difference. Now consider that 2 out of those 3 are probably going to get resigned by their original team and the 3rd is going to want to cash in so hopefully Miami’s willing to overpay on a big, multi-year, contract.

  16. Bungoton Ka says:

    I think Lebron will join Smart Gilas.

  17. GIlAtienza says:

    I’d rather see LeBron in Cavs uniform again, trade the no. 1 draft pick to acquire Kevin Love. with the young roster like of Kyrie Irving. Dion Waiter which is a All-Star caliber, quality big men Alonso Gee and Tristan Thompson, veteran smarts of Jared Jack C.J. Miles and Anderson Verajo, with LeBron leadership and experience with the HEAT i think CAVS have a chance to win. They will have the new BIG 3, Irving, LBJ, Love, what else can you ask for?

  18. Brent says:

    His opting out was smart because now the Heat can reload. Hate to say it but I could almost see Greg Monroe landing in Miami.

  19. slipstik says:

    It will be easier for him to stay since Heat don’t need to solve the rest of the NBA teams, they only have to adjust their team in order to beat the spurs. Heat vs. Spurs finals 2015.

  20. bodjee says:

    I think he is going to Europe …

  21. Brent says:

    I don’t see lebron going to the western conference so its either Miami, Chicago, or Cleveland maybe New York

  22. tagabukid says:

    funny how they keep mentioning “additional” (star) player/s for Miami to win another ring when four seasons back, they all hail the merging of the (so-called) big 3 as invincible. remember not 1… not 2… not 3…?

    Heat’s big 3 has been bumped down the totem pole as they have been eclipsed by the Spurs’s big 3. the difference: Heat’s big 3 were individually established in their respective clubs (Wade:Heat, James:Cavs, Bosh:Raptors) before being put together; while Spurs’s big 3 — and the bench players, come to that — thrived and sparkled because of the Spurs system.

    what Miami, and the rest of the league’s contenders for that matter, needs to do is to create a system that will build the basic foundation needed in winning championships: team basketball.

    Team basketball doesn’t require superstars; it creates them.

    • Patrick King says:

      What you say sounds good but holds no water or weight. Since the inception of the big three, who has been to the finals more, San Antonio or Miami? Since the inception of the Big three who has more rings, San Antonio or Miami? If you know basketball, every game, every series is a child of its own. To say that San Antonio has established more in the past four years shows that you are not subjective except to your feelings. Stop hate and appreciate, besides it’s a game. You don’t know any of these people so how can you comment on someone’s intention. You can only speculate. So I dare not speculate that you are as acute as your comment or even as obtuse as your insight.

      • tagabukid says:

        to answer your questions: Heat has been to the finals since the formation of Miami Big 3; Heat has won 2 championships since the formation of Miami Big 3. I am not saying that San Antonio has established more in the “past four years”; everybody knows (but hardly acknowledges) that San Antonio has been well-established for the past decade. This I am saying not based on my feelings but based on facts.

        since Jordan and the decline of Grant Hill’s explosiveness due to his untimely injury, I no longer favor any team, any player in the NBA; so I don’t know where you based your “stop hate and appreciate” comment. If you read again, I am actually suggesting. Adding another superstar won’t guarantee a win-all scenario (case point: LA Lakers), they need to establish a system to benefit each and every players of the team.

        still, i thank you for your time to reply on my opinion, but i suppose the last sentence is not necessary to suggest that your opinion is the better one.

      • philljo says:

        You really came from the bukid because Miami Heat had only 1 championship prior to the creation of the big 3.

      • The U says:

        Let’s not forget, the Heat are a missed Ray Allen 3 or a turnover away from being 1-3 in the Finals. I don’t think they’ve been nearly as “dominant” as some may suppose. They took advantage of playing in a horrid Eastern conference, and truthfully, an NBA as a whole that is run by a few really good teams and a bunch of really bad/mediocre teams. This Miami squad would be a 5 or 6 seed if they played in the 80’s or 90’s.

  23. imissthethunder says:

    He’s staying. And he should. Why go somewhere else to chase a championship? He’s the King. Let the good players come to his team. He is the Heat.

  24. bballjunkie1 says:

    Wade is the X factor he is due 40+ million for the next 2 years. U would think all he has made he’d be alright at this point in his career. But he is the killer in the deal, take less have Heat spread it out over 3 years? Big 3 are meeting today.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I hope Lebron can go to the Rockets an d make a new big 3: James Harden, Dwight Howard, and Lebron James

  26. dolladdict says:

    Let’s just wait and see what LeBron has to say in “The Decision – Part 2”

  27. luis says:

    creo que seria un error si regresa a no ser que spoltra salga del aire ,termino fatigado al igual que bosh y wade.ahora Pat quiere reinventarlo, las atrocidades de direccion se vio en las finales;tenia que haber jugado hasta el gato yquiso resolverlo conBattier y Udonis asi fue el año anterior, valga que estaba Miller:recuerdo de niño de la maldicion del Bambino(Babe Ruth)y el boston que lo cambiaron para los Yankes .estubieron bastante tiempo sin ganar otro ;todos los fanaticos vieron los errores del dueño,Pat y Spoltra ;resulta que ahora Pat es mandraque el mago y lo va aresolver todo o es que no se acuerda que por menos de lo que hizo spoltra le costo el puesto a Van Gundy que era un reconocido parece que Lebron debe meditarlo muy bien porque el mal que tiene el heat hay qqqqqqqqqqqqqqque erradicarlo de raiz y sin titubeos pues fue un bochorno como los Spur los ultrajaron a un equipo campeon con las acciones en el cielo ahora no dan ni un penique por el equipo,todo por quererse ahorrar unos millones, y la franquicia que

  28. Kobe-James-Melo-Love-Nash says:

    Yeah right!! He’s is going back to Miami.. I don’t think so.. Just go to Chicago if you don’t want to go to LA..

  29. d says:

    just bring in kawhi leonard

  30. West says:

    Lebron and Melo going to Charlotte

  31. HeatBrasil says:

    Acho que LB fica sim em miami pois foi la que fez sua história como o melhor do planeta

  32. Philip says:

    Want to lure lebron back to miami? Get him a real competent coach and take spoelstra out.

  33. Philip says:

    Want to lure lebron back to miami… Fire spoelstra and get him a real coach.

  34. basketball i know says:

    Its bill Russell’s number lol.

  35. Heat Fan says:

    100% Miami…… I have faith!

  36. Eric says:

    We don’t like the saying that more rings make the better player. He can play with all the good players to get more rings but that does not make him a better player. No matter how many rings he got he is still the best player. Don’t be bothered by the number of rings.
    “ring’ mislead the NBA

  37. Zac says:

    LeBron taking his talent to NFL

  38. Nathan Owen says:

    For me, I think the odds are 92:8 for Lebron James staying in Heat,because,I think he’s very comfortable with his teammate Dwayne wade,and Chris Bosh,and I can’t see any team that suits with the way Lebron James play his game,but,that just me

  39. Vern says:

    Hopefully Chris and D Wade Opt out as well. So Pat Riley can convince the 2 to take a small cut add a good point guard and a big man, You can add Eric Bledsoe or Lowry at the point. If only Oden can stay healthy and live up to his potential then Miami will be a contender again. It all depends now with Pat Riley’.. Time will start ticking. Lots of team will try to lure Lebron, especially Houston and Clippers.

  40. If LEbron is going anywhere hes going to the sixers in light of his favorite player DR.J