3 years ago
- BIG THREE for BOSTON, MIAMI THRICE for HEAT??
The Miami Heat is King of the NBA.
LeBron James, arguably the most sought-after free agent in NBA history, announced Thursday night on a nationally televised special that he would sign with Miami, not his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.
“King” James will join Heat megastar Dwyane Wade and newcomer Chris Bosh. James instantly makes South Florida’s franchise the favorite to win multiple NBA titles, at the least, and a basketball dynasty for years to come, at the most.
“In this fall — this is very tough — in this fall I am taking my talents to South Beach and play with the Miami Heat,” said James on ESPN in an announcement made at 9:28 p.m. from the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwich, Conn., on a made-for-television special. “I feel like this is going to give me the best opportunity to win and to win for multiple years.”
The trio is being called “Miami Thrice.”
“There’s magic in the number three,” Wade said in a statement. “This is the beginning of a new chapter in Heat history.”
James is expected to wear No. 6 and Bosh No. 4.
“We are thrilled that LeBron James and Chris Bosh have decided to come to Miami to join forces with our truly great player, Dwyane Wade,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. “We are looking forward to the opportunity of building something that our fans in Miami will be proud of for a long, long time. The journey is just beginning.”
Although the contracts are not finalized, James said he will sign a five-year contract and that he, Wade and Bosh have agreed to take less than the maximum.
“All three are going to take less money because we wanted to play along side each other, and we feel like we can be great together,” he said.
Cleveland fans reacted angrily after the announcement. James, who has played for the Cavaliers his entire seven seasons after growing up south of the city in Akron, Ohio, was shown a clip of Cavaliers fans burning his jersey.
“I can’t get involved in that,” he said. “One thing that I didn’t want to do is make an emotional decision. I wanted to do what is best for LeBron James. This is a business and I had seven great years in Cleveland. I hope the fans will understand. Maybe they won’t.”
When asked about the likely possibility of being booed when the Heat plays in Cleveland, James said: “Hopefully the fans will be respectful. I don’t expect them to be.”
With other franchises in the mix for James, including his Cavaliers, the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks, speculation Thursday leaned toward James choosing Miami. James said he made the decision Thursday morning.
“I went day to day,” he said. “I’d wake up one morning ‘it’s this team.’ I’d wake up another morning ‘it’s this team.’ This morning I woke up, had a great conversation with my mom. Once I had that conversation with her, I was set.”
Horns were honking outside AmericanAirlines Arena as the announcement reverberated throughout South Florida, a football-loving hotbed that now likely will closely follow a Heat team that has amazing potential for greatness for at least the next five years.
That’s because while other teams have put together “Big Threes” — most recently the Boston Celtics with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce — none have the youth and talent that the Heat will possess.
“It’s a really good team. We would take it, but it’s definitely not unbeatable,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni told the New York media.
Wade, 28, James, 25, and Bosh, 26, all are friends and in the prime of their careers.
Wade, a guard, is a six-time All-Star who led the league in scoring two years ago and brought the Heat its lone title in 2006.
James, a forward, is a two-time MVP and four-time All-NBA pick. He has won one scoring title and was the leading scorer on the 2008 Olympic U.S. basketball team that included Wade and Bosh.
Bosh, a power forward, is a five-time All Star who has averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds three times in his career.