Welcome once again to free agency gambling! So many questions have come up: where will Melo sign?; is Melo going to leave crazy money on the table?; is Bosh willing to leave money on the table when there is no way he should?; what in the world is going to happen with D Wade?; and, of course, WWLD Part II?
The insanity has begun and there are huge prizes out there to win – Melo, Bosh and of course LeBron – and there are some players who are going to hold a salary cap hostage much like Kobe has done to the Lakers (cough, Wade, cough).
Here is what we know so far, LeBron opted out, forcing the rest of the Big Three’s hands and then, when they were all set to make some big sacrifices, LeBron seems to have decided that the other guys were going to sacrifice while he takes the max. Here is how he sold it to them, “okay, I will take the max, you guys sign for ten mill a year and we will sign Kyle Lowry or Melo for ten mill a year. Deal? Sound good?”
Except there was no chance Lowry was taking that kind of deal, there is no way Bosh deserves to take that kind of deal and there is no way Wade is leaving that much money on the table (and is not signing with Miami as he literally knows where the bodies are buried). Meanwhile, the Bulls are quietly building a team to win titles (how much more incredible would they be with LeBron?) with Melo, while Houston is suddenly the best place for Chris Bosh to go and have a legitimate chance to win more titles. Not to mention the fact that Chris Bosh is one of the best players in the league who rightfully deserves to get max money and be properly appreciated.
The pieces remain in play because until LeBron signs no one else will. The reason, obviously, because as long as there is a chance to get him, no one will sign anyone else. Could we potentially see a LeBron / Melo partnership? Would Cleveland be the place that happens? Somehow it seems highly improbable that Ms. Melo would want to move there after loving New York, and given how much of a mess the Cavs are, they may not even give LeBron a chance to win titles.
What happens to the Heat if Bron returns to Cleveland? They sign Wade to a max deal, shackling themselves to mediocrity for some time going forward, Bosh goes to Houston and probably has a shot at winning more titles than LeBron or Wade.
Wade, Bosh and LeBron sign in Miami and in the magically best case scenario manage to convince 2008 Pau Gasol to sign with them for no money. In that scenario Melo goes to Chicago and suddenly we have a real rivalry in the East (to the devastation of Pacer fans) while the West continues to batter each other.
The final thing to think about it: LeBron’s legacy depends solely on winning championships at this point, does it really matter where he does that? What does a third title in say, Cleveland or Phoenix mean versus a third in Miami? Who will sign where and is this the end of the big three era in Miami and the rise of it in Chicago?