About a month ago, we took a look at every team's chances of acquiring Kevin Love. A few weeks later, it turns out there might be a bigger prize on the market this summer, as the LeBron James Sweepstakes makes an unexpected return to the NBA's summer extravaganza. James, long considered to be a lock to return to Miami, might have a more open-minded approach to eligible suitors than previously expected, thanks to an off-the-court financial independence that allows him to be flexible in his salary demands.
James' "discontent" in South Beach (and to call it that might be extreme) stems from management's decision to employ cost-cutting moves (like using the amnesty clause on Mike Miller), resulting in a supporting cast that more and more resembles what he had in Cleveland: A roster of players wholly dependent on his brilliance for its collective excellence to come through. If James is willing to take a discount -- a deep discount -- to put himself in the optimal situation, it creates for some interesting landing spots.
Here are what I think are LeBron James' top-five landing spots based on fit and title potential, with pros and cons noted for each.
Pros: We had some fun in San Antonio on TrueHoop TV suggesting this, but the truth is that no other franchise can offer James what he truly seeks on a basketball level. The model franchise in terms of ownership commitment (without being meddlesome), shrewd management and elite coaching, the Spurs play a brand of equal-opportunity basketball that de-emphasizes the importance of any one cog in the system, the opposite of what James has experienced earlier in Cleveland and lately in Miami. With Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili eventually moving on, James could step in as the link to another decade of San Antonio dominance.