Until 2014 at least.
Both LeBron and Wade are set to become free agents after next season (if they so please), and speculation has run rampant as to what James specifically will do next.
Will he return to the Cleveland Cavaliers? Join forces with Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers? Follow in Michael Jordan’s footsteps and play for the Chicago Bulls?
All of the above are legitimate possibilities, and there are even teams that will emerge between now and next summer that we don’t already know of. Everyone wants a second chance at courting LeBron—including the Miami Heat.
Staring down the barrel of a lucrative luxury tax bill should the Heat re-sign every member of their Big Three in 2014, some circles are postulating that James will hit pavement (sand?) and find a home somewhere else. What we must remember, however, is that the Heat have to be the favorites. Even still.
Forget about the championships. Miami could win a title this year and next, and LeBron could still find excuses to leave. Forget about the money as well. We already saw that the team able to offer him the most money won’t necessary prevail. Just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers.
What we can’t forget about is Wade. James took his talents to sunny South Beach to chase rings with Wade (and Bosh). He’s not about to just desert him.
For all “sense” LeBron going back to Cavs in 2014 makes, don’t think it’s that simple in real life. He & D-Wade too close to just bolt Miami
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) March 21, 2013
Whatever Wade decides, James will take into consideration. If he decides to leave Miami himself (maybe head to Chicago?), LeBron would then feel free to do whatever he likes. At that point, I’d even hazard he’s as good as gone from the Heat.
But can we really picture Wade playing anywhere else? He has the opportunity to be one of only a few players who spends their entire career with one team. He’s helped do so much for the organization that it seems inconceivable he wouldn’t re-sign. And if he does remain in Miami, that’s going to make James’ decision plenty more difficult.
Does he leave his teammate? His friend? The Robin to his Batman?
Not without a gripping moral dilemma he doesn’t.
With that in mind, even this line of thought is purely conjecture. We don’t know what LeBron will do, or even if he’ll take Wade’s decision into consideration (I believe he will).
What we do know is that after this season, we’re in for a long, arduous year. One that resembles the 2009-10 campaign, in which opposing fans could be found cheering, not jeering, the one who they hoped would save their franchise.
LeBron is a little more than a year away from making the next biggest decision of his career. Where that decision will take him this time, we just don’t know.
Until we do, it’s safe to believe that LeBron’s next home will be just as much about where Wade is, as about where his heart is.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.