If you asked anyone who they believe is the most powerful man in the NBA, their answer should be LeBron James. James’ influence is far greater than that of Commissioner Adam Silver or the legendary coach turned New York Knicks’ President Phil Jackson. James is most powerful because he has made free agency stop.
Yesterday, LeBron sat down with Heat executives in Las Vegas to discuss his future with the team. Part of the plan for the Heat was to review possible roster combinations with James. This is a smart move on the part of the Heat because they know James will only sign if he feels he can win another championship. However, after the meeting ended, reports indicated that LeBron was still undecided.
Why does LeBron have this much influence in the league? To answer, we must first look back at the Cleveland Cavaliers and how LeBron James changed that franchise. The Cavaliers finished the 2002-2003 season with a dismal record of 17-65. Enter James for the 2003-2004 season, and Cleveland finished with a record of 35 wins and 47 losses. Clearly there was something special. The next year, the Cavs finished with a record above .500 for the first time since the 1997-1998 season. Add one more season to LeBron’s career and the Cavs reached the NBA Finals in 2007, only to lose to the San Antonio Spurs.
Clearly, LeBron is a special player who can alter any team he plays for, which is why a lot of players await LeBron’s decision before signing. For example, sources say Chris Bosh, a teammate of James in Miami, will sign with the Houston Rockets if LeBron decides not to return to Miami.
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There are undoubtedly some players who would love to team up with LeBron next season because they realize the possibility of winning a championship tremendously increases with James on their side. In fact, players like Ray Allen are reportedly waiting to follow LeBron wherever he goes.
At this point, no one really know what LeBron will do. There is a short list of teams who expressed interest in LeBron including the Heat and the Cavaliers. Yet, an undecided James may shock us all and sign somewhere completely unexpected.
Heat fans are collectively holding their breath until hearing from LeBron. If LeBron chooses a new team, his jersey sales will remain atop the leader board. However, LeBron may also have the most burned jersey in the league once again.