Posted By Sean Doyle, July 7, 2010.
Photo Courtesy of Prince Akeem.
It has come to this. We are but 24 short hours away from the most important announcement in NBA free agent (re: human) history. Major pieces are now off the board. Bosh and Wade have both committed to the wily Riley South Beach Superteam. Nowitzki and Pierce have opted to stay home sweet home. Amar'e "STAT" Stoudemire has taken to the Big Apple. So where does this leave the King? Apparently in Greenwich, Connecticut. Hmmm....
Why is LBJ in hedge fund heaven? One does wonder as wild rumors abound. Tommorow night at 9 p.m. LeBron announces live on ESPN which one of the six teams (Cleveland, New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey) pursing him he has finally decided to sign with.
I'm a (long suffering) Knicks fan. I'm biased I admit it. But I think there is a very strong argument as to why LBJ should come to NYC. I'll lay it out (stat-wise) here:
On/Off Court Maximum Earning Potential (According to Interbrand):
NY Knicks: $ 1.9 Billion
Cleveland Cavs: $ 1.1 Billion
Chicago Bulls: $ 1.2 Billion
Miami Heat: $ 0.9 Billion
Lifetime Probability of Earning a Billion Dollars (According to Interbrand):
NY Knicks: 48.6%
Cleveland Cavs: 1.3%
Chicago Bulls: 1.0%
Miami Heat: 0.0%
Why is this important? Well, for years LeBron James has repeatedly stated his desire to be the first professional athlete to become a billionaire. According to Interbrand, James' probability of achieving this goal is best served (perhaps only served) by inking with the New York Knicks (by a very, very wide margin).
City Population, Greater Urban Population (According to Wikipedia):
New York: 8.4 Million, 18.2 Million
Cleveland: 0.4 Million, 2.3 Million
Chicago: 2.8 Million, 8.7 Million
Miami: 0.4 Million, 1.1 Million
This is a big one....There are more than twice as many people in just NYC (8.4 Million) than there are in Cleveland, Chicago, and Miami combined!!! (3.6 Million for all three). Who wants to be a Billionaire, LBJ?
NBA Team Values (According to Forbes):
NY Knicks: $ 586 Million
Cleveland Cavs: $ 476 Million
Chicago Bulls: $ 511 Million
Miami Heat: $ 364 Million
Combined PER's (Player Efficiency Ratings) of Team's Current Top Three:
NY Knicks: 51.5 (Stoudemire 22.6, Gallinari 14.8, Chandler 13.7)
Cleveland Cavs: 48.6 (Varejao 15.8, Williams 16.1, Jamison 16.7)
Chicago Bulls: 57.8 (Boozer 21.3, Noah 17.9, Rose 18.6)
Miami Heat: 63.7 (Wade 28.0, Bosh 25.0, Chalmers 10.7)
* On the pure numbers, Miami is way ahead. However, if LeBron goes to such a loaded team in a such small fickle market it likely would be seen as a cop-out (an easy route to a couple rings...something Jordan or Bird would never ever do) and could seriously (perhaps irreversibly) damage his reputation and by extension his brand....(Bye bye billions...)
Biggest Upside/ Impact (2009-2010 Record, Recent History, etc.)
NY Knicks: 29-53 (2 playoff appearances in last 10 years)
Cleveland Cavs: 61-21 (5 playoff appearances in last 10 years, lost '07 Finals)
Chicago Bulls: 41-41 (5 playoff appearances in last 10 years, Jordan led to 6 Titles in 90's)
Miami Heat: 47-35 (7 playoff appearances in last 10 years, NBA Champs in 2006)
Quite simply, if LBJ wants to make the biggest impact he will sign with the Knickerbockers. Thanks to "Fire" Isiah Thomas, the Knicks have suffered through the worst decade in franchise history. If LeBron inks here (NY) he will instantly lead New York to 50 plus wins and a deep playoff run. The Knicks haven't won 50 games in 11 years! LBJ, Amar'e, and Gallo are good for 50+ wins easy. The Bulls are Jordan's team (6 Rings are a minimum requirement there..). 'Nuff said. Miami are Wade's team (always have been and always will be) and they just won the NBA title in 2006! Cleveland is a close 2nd to New York because it is LBJ's home and the city of Cleveland hasn't had a championship in any sport for 46 years!!!
Miami is a tiny market (smaller than Cleveland!) with perhaps the most fickle dispassionate sports fans of all of the six major players for LeBron. Yes, Miami is a cool, sexy city but it is no sports town and no place to make a billion dollars. In fact, Interbrand has it as a 0% chance that LBJ will make a billion dollars there. o.o freakin' percent!!!!!!! Plus, LBJ will be Scottie Pippen to Dwayne Wade's Michael Jordan, forever ending the notion that he will be considered in the running for greatest of all time. Cheap easy rings = LBJ BRAND FAIL.
LBJ's best bets are Cleveland, New York, and Chicago. I'd steer clear of Chi-town because of MJ's superhuman sized shadow. This leaves Cleveland (Home) and New York (Home away from home)
as LeBron's best chances to build his own unique legacy and brand (not ride on D. Wade's coattails) and make that cool billion dollars he has always aspired to make. As a Knicks fan you know where I stand.
- Sean Doyle