LeBron James’ agent might be meeting with potential suitors over this holiday weekend, but there is a real possibility at this point that his decision will end up being between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Same exec feels it's a Miami-Cleveland battle & LeBron is waiting for a team to make a splash.
— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) July 5, 2014
Both teams have the cap room to make a max offer to LeBron, but the Heat can offer more cash than any other team out there. At this point, it’s highly unlikely that James’ decision will come down to that. His agent wants potential suitors to sell their plans to the two-time NBA champion. Whichever team comes across as having a blueprint for success not only in 2014-2015, but down the road as well, will likely land his services.
While Cleveland might be perceived as a long shot to land James, it’s important to note that the franchise is in a much different place than during James first run with the Cavaliers.
They just signed All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to a six-year contract extension and picked up all-everything swingman Andrew Wiggins with the first pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
In addition to that, the Cavs have more solid young players than their 33-49 record from a season ago might suggest. Triston Thompson and Dion Waiters made major strides in 2013-2104. They also have lottery picks Tyler Zeller and Anthony Bennett, both of whom possess tremendous upside.
Considering that James’ natural position is small forward, Cleveland might have a rather large trade chip in the form of Wiggins should James decide to sign with his home state team. That in of itself could very well draw James closer to signing with the team that originally drafted him.
For the Heat, it’s rather simple. They need to show James that the roster will be improved if they are to be able to re-sign him. That gets incredibly complicated due to the fact that second-tier free agents aren’t going to take less to sign with Miami unless it retains James. And James won’t commit to returning unless the Heat add those second-tier free agents to build bench depth.
Photo: Business Insider