If the reports are to be believed, which they probably aren’t, that a Cleveland Cavaliers-LeBron James reunion is near certain, what are the league-wide implications of the deal?
First let me speculate where other major free agents might land. Bosh and Wade are likely to stay with the Miami Heat and Carmelo Anthony returns to the New York Knicks.
For starters the Eastern Conference would become significantly more competitive. In this scenario, had the Pacers stayed totally intact they would be the favorites to take the East crown, but without Lance Stephenson, the Pacers are similar talent-wise to the East’s other contenders.
The Cavs, Bulls, Heat, Pacers and Raptors all would have legitimate chances to win the Eastern Conference.
But the Eastern Conference will also get weaker, if more competitive. Over the past two or three seasons the Western Conference has shown to be the better of the two conferences. In this scenario, none of the top five teams in the East will be as capable as the 2013-2014 Miami Heat.
Judging by the trajectories of Western Conference teams, the Cavs, Bulls, Heat, Pacers or Raptors would be easily dealt with by the Western Conference champion.
The Cleveland Cavaliers would be the next NBA dynasty, not the Miami Heat. While the Cavs 2014-2015 season prospects look glum, as far as championships go, the 2016 or 2017 and beyond prospects look amazing.
LeBron would mentor a handful of athletically dominant basketball players into intelligent all-stars. Not to mention, if the rumors are true, Ray Allen and Mike Miller would tutor the lackluster shooters into efficient snipers.