Listed below are the different factors that LeBron James will be considering when making his decision on where to spend the next four or five years of his NBA career.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The only home he’s ever known is Akron, Ohio, and if he stays on the Cleveland Cavaliers, he wouldn’t have to move his family.


Because of the Larry Bird rule, whereby a veteran signing a contract to remain with his current team faces fewer limitations, the Cleveland Cavaliers can offer LeBron James more money than any other franchise.

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Coach Byron Scott now takes the helm of the Cavs, and the biggest reason this could be a significant factor is that Byron Scott has worked for the past few years with Chris Paul, who seems to be one of LeBron James’ best friends.  Paul, or CP3 as some refer to him, is said to be looking to move from New Orleans to a different squad, and if he were to join the Cleveland Cavaliers he would find himself with a familiar coach and playing alongside one of his best friends.  With those two guys on the Cavaliers, they could be a prohibitive favorite to win the Eastern Conference for the next few years to come.

LeBron might not know the exact offensive and defensive schemes he’s going to be using under coach Byron Scott (though they’d obviously be targeted at his talents), but he will be very familiar with his team mates – and they with him.

Bringing a title to Cleveland brings him God-like status in that town.  He would be beloved forever were he to win the NBA Championship with the Cavaliers, and there’s nothing like having that status in his hometown.

There are reports that various car dealerships and sponsors in the Cleveland area are trying to sweeten the deal for LeBron by offering him part ownership in their businesses to remain in the area.  While that might be a nice perk, ownership in the Cleveland market pales in comparison to any sort of ownership elsewhere.

If he doesn’t leave home now for a bigger city, the odds of him ever experiencing the high life elsewhere are significantly diminished.  The adulation he’ll experience in those other, bigger markets is also a lot warmer now than it would be five years from now when he’s older, less explosive and provides less opportunity to give the new town a talent which brings them significantly closer to a championship.  Leaving home now also means that in five years, he can return to Cleveland, erasing most (if not all) of the hard feelings he’d create tonight, and finish out the remainder of his career there.

New York Knicks

There’s no place where the lights are brighter than in New York City, and playing for the Knicks would provide LeBron James the opportunity to play 40+ games per season at Madison Square Garden.

Every time you see LeBron James throw talcum powder into the air before a game or spot him in a soft drink commercial or endorsing shoes with his name on it, LeBron James is making a brand of himself.  There’s no better place in the world to market oneself than in New York City.

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LeBron James plays an uptempo style, and that’s exactly how Mike D’Antoni ran things out in Phoenix.  The Knicks aren’t a great team, but with Amar’e Stoudamire, they got a whole lot better.  There’s also the chance that Chris Paul would want to come to the Big Apple to team up King James with CP3 instead of the duo connecting in Cleveland.

Think it’d be a great ovation for LeBron if he brought a championship to Cleveland?  Imagine if he gives the Knicks their first NBA Championship in 40 years.

New Jersey Nets

Aside from Chris Paul, the other person you can immediately identify as one of LeBron James’ friends is Jay-Z, a co-owner of the New Jersey Nets.  There’s no doubt that the two have talked about working together, and with King James’ ambitions to be bigger than just a basketball player, Jay-Z can definitely make that happen.

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While the Nets play in New Jersey for the next two years, they’re going to be moving to Brooklyn, where the spotlight will be just as bright as in the neighboring borough where the Knicks play, but with less criticism on his play than if he were on the squad whose home games were at Madison Square Garden.  There’s no doubt in my mind that the facilities that the Nets are building in Brooklyn are going to be nicer than what MSG has.

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The only current piece of the puzzle in place for LeBron James to even get to the playoffs with the Nets is Brook Lopez, a star young player.  Devin Harris is a talent, but he’s yet to play a full season, and he only averages around 30 minutes per game.

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Avery Johnson is now the coach of the New Jersey Nets, a considerable step up from what LeBron had in Cleveland, and that might be enough for CP3 to join King James, though the draw of Byron Scott or the jersey reading “Knicks” would still be more powerful to lure Paul to join LeBron.

Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade re-signed with Miami, and free agent Chris Bosh joined the South Beach squad.  LeBron would make for a very dangerous three-some.  That’s the current formula for getting championships, it would seem, with Kobe / Artest / Gasol for the Lakers and also Pierce / Allen / Garnett up in Boston and the Spurs having Duncan / Parker / Ginóbili before that.

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If the Heat compile a trio of Wade / James / Bosh, there’s a great chance that Pat Riley would suit up as the team’s coach.

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Certainly the question would run through LeBron’s mind whether he and D-Wade could coexist on the same squad for an entire season, as both enjoy taking over games.

LeBron might also consider that on the Miami Heat team as it’s currently constituted, there’s no real great jump-shooter, as most of the skillset for the trio involves taking the ball directly to the rim.

Miami is also getting a reputation for not being a great sports town.  If the Heat are struggling, the fans don’t show up.  If the Heat are running away with the conference, having gained a considerable lead over the other teams who are contending for the top playoff spot, the fans also might save their money and wait to buy tickets to playoff games.

Los Angeles Clippers

LeBron certainly identified Los Angeles as a city in which he’d like to play, but the Lakers aren’t an option.  The Clippers have a highly talented roster to which LeBron might supply the missing piece.  Blake Griffin and Baron Davis might look much better than they currently do if LeBron was leading the charge.

Vinny Del Negro is going to be the coach next season.  With only a couple years under his belt the past two seasons over in Chicago, has Del Negro shown anything that might help tip LeBron one way or another in regards to whether he’d like to play with him as the coach?

Chicago Bulls

Another huge market in which LeBron could make his name is Chicago, where LeBron’s idol Michael Jordan won his six championships.  Playing in the shadow of Michael’s legend could be a good thing, or a bad thing.

The Bulls already have a core of good young players.  Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah… LeBron could easily take that squad to the next level.

With Vinny Del Negro parting ways with the Bulls, their new head coach is Tom Thibodeau, who….


Ah, thanks Wikipedia.  Thibodeau is apparently a defensive strategist who is getting his first Head Coaching position with his upcoming stint for the Chicago Bulls.  He seems like he could be a very competent coach, but I don’t know that his reputation is such that he’d be a positive factor in bringing LeBron to Chicago, not as of yet, unless LeBron speaks to the right folks.  I’m sure that folks in Boston might have good things to say about Thibodeau, as he helped them beat the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals… but would anyone currently with the Celtics REALLY want to help LeBron land in Chicago – a team they’d have to contend with in the Eastern Conference portion of the playoffs?  Doubtful.

Washington Wizards

This is my hometown, so I have to mention it.

Though the Wizards had a bad record last year, they’ve got a core of young talent to build around.  Trevor Booker, Andray Blatche, JaVelle McGee, Yi Jianlian and superstar-in-the-making John Wall are all under the age of 24, not to mention Gil Arenas and Al Thornton.

Flip Saunders has been to the NBA Finals, so the head coach could be strength of the area.

DC is a significantly large market with a good history of supporting its sports franchises.

The Wizards ownership is in the hands of a guy who has proven he is capable of finding the right decision makers to bring in the personnel and coaching staff to make the teams successful.

The DC area has three airports which will fly him wherever he needs to go, not to mention a train which would take him directly to New York City.

Okay, the last one was a stretch, and I’m obviously not expecting LeBron James to name the Nation’s Capital as his choice of teams.  Based on the way the Wizards have been making trades, they don’t expect it, either.  In fact, I’m not even sure that LeBron met with officials from the Wizards, but I had to throw the facts out there regardless.

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If we get more than 6 (potentially LeBron’s jersey number depending where he ends up) respondees to this article, one of those individuals will get a free tshirt.