The news broke last week, bringing with it a tsunami of speculation and sizzling hot takes: LeBron James was opting out of the remainder of his Miami Heat contract. What will his next move be? LeBron is available to every team in the league come July 1, and every NBA GM in America will look far and wide for any advantage in the race for his services, just like in 2010.
But Miami should lap the field, the race shouldn't be close, and LeBron James should be back in a Miami Heat uniform in no time. Here are just a few reasons why:
Money talks: Miami can offer more than $30 million more to James on a max deal, and the Heat can include one more year than any other team. Anything can happen in four years — just ask Dwyane Wade — so LeBron's best bet is to take the guaranteed money while he can. After already accepting less to make it happen in Miami the first time, is LeBron ready to join a new team for an insane discount?
LeBron has all the power in Miami: When LeBron came to Miami, people asked if it would be his or Dwyane Wade's team. Nobody asks that question anymore. LeBron is the clear leader in Miami, and everyone else falls in. Will that be the case in Houston with Dwight Howard, in Chicago with Derrick Rose, or Los Angeles with Chris Paul or Kobe Bryant? The other teams can easily fake it on the first date, but Miami has been living with LeBron for four years.
The media would massacre him for leaving: LeBron James gets taken to task now for seeking out help to win a title. What would the narrative be like if he does it again? Imagine if LeBron won a title in Houston next year. Many would put an asterisk by it, fair or unfair. Can you imagine how people would view him if he lost on a second-hand-picked team? Forget Jordan — he would be lucky if people mention him in the same sentence as Kobe.
Family comes first: Carmelo Anthony recently complained how tough it is to move your family every few years, especially when young kids are involved. LeBron's wife, Savannah, just opened a business in Miami and is pregnant. James' children just got settled in Miami after their move from Cleveland and are heavily involved in local sports. All things equal, you know LeBron would rather stay in Miami or go back to Cleveland, and only one of those looks like it's a real option.
The Heat delivers: Of all the reasons LeBron should stay in Miami, familiarity and trust in the organization should be at the top. He doesn't need to be sold on what the Heat brings to the table because it has already proven what it can do for him. Many things were promised in 2010, and all have been delivered. Every season LeBron has been in Miami has ended in the championship round. There is no reason to believe the Heat can't continue to do it.