The Great Race for LeBron James is, in my opinion, down to two teams – Chicago and Cleveland. And for good reason.
Though the Bulls were knocked out of the 2010 playoffs rather easily by the more talented Cavalier lineup, they made well in their audition for the King. Derrick Rose proved his worth as one of the best point guards in the game of basketball and Joakim Noah did his thing as, well, a wild thing. Rose was outstanding in the series and made play after player to keep his team in the game. He, like Rajon Rondo and/or Jason Kidd, is a transition player’s dream. And he’s certainly an upgrade from any point guard LeBron James has ever played with. Noah provides the toughness and activity in the paint – much like one of LeBron’s favorite teammates, Anderson Varejao.
But, perhaps most intriguing for the King, the Bulls have the cap space to bring in two big name free agents this summer. That means James could possibly have the opportunity to take the floor with a lineup consisting of Rose, himself and Chris Bosh. Three all-star caliber players. Three winners. And one absolutely dominate team in the East. They’d be something like Boston’s “Big Three”…only younger and better.
The downside, though, is that Chicago is home to arguably the greatest player of all time – Michael Jordan. They’ve been spoiled by multiple championships coming at the hands of His Airness. LeBron will play in the shadow of Jordan and will forever play second string to the Hall of Famer unless he comes up with about six championships of his own. And that is a particularly lofty request in the NBA today.
As well, with a team of Rose, Bosh and LeBron, expectations are going to be incredibly high. If they don’t produce a championship together in the first year or two, they will be deemed failures. They will be failures because Chicago has had the opportunity to taste the sweet taste of victory. On the other hand, Cleveland has not. LeBron’s playoff woes will always be blamed on the city’s bad luck. He will be the alpha-male, a man among boys, the moment he chooses to resign with the Cavaliers. Championship(s) or not, LeBron James will be the King of Cleveland. It doesn’t work that way in Chicago.