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Fran Blinebury

If Dwyane Wade stays in Miami, he and LeBron James could make a deadly combination.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

Tour de LeBron: The Miami Heat

Posted Jun 20 2010 10:20PM

Now that the Lakers and the Celtics have gone to the last seconds in the last minute of the last game and finally scratched and clawed and wheezed and battled to decide a champion, it's time for the really intense competition to begin.

Who gets LeBron James?

The LeBron Sweepstakes begin when the doors to free agency swing open on July 1. The two-time MVP will have a conga line of suitors winding from coast-to-coast.


The footlights of NewYork or the movie lights of L.A.? The salsa beat of Miami or the thundering Bulls hoofbeats of Chicago? The comfort of home in Cleveland or the mean streets of New Jersey? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Here's a tour of the prime spots where The King may end up.

This stop: the Miami Heat.

The on-court attraction

If the idea is to join forces with another superstar in order to conquer the world and win championships, then his good buddy Dwyane Wade is waiting in Miami with open arms. With LeBron and D-Wade joining forces, it's likely they could convince another free agent -- Chris Bosh? -- to climb aboard and the title train would be rolling down the tracks.

The off-court attraction

South Beach, Coconut Grove, Palm Island. It's hot, it's sweaty, it's got the international vibe, all the hippest of the hip ... and the outdoor bar at The Clevelander is a lot more pleasant a place to be in February than, say, Cleveland.

The 'Tour de LeBron''s Fran Blinebury gives his odds for the six cities most mentioned as destinations for free-agent-to-be LeBron James in landing the reigning MVP.

Cleveland Cavaliers | Chicago Bulls | Miami Heat | New York Knicks | New Jersey Nets | L.A. Clippers
The challenge

It'll be a chore to share the basketball with Wade and whichever other big name free agent he convinces to go south while making up for the lack of a supporting cast, because there's only going to be money left over for minimum salaries.

The local pantheon

Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, Dan Marino. For all of the flash and style of Miami, it's a town that likes its sports heroes to have substance, so he definitely fits in.

The history

There were all those seasons and all those teams with Mourning in the middle and Pat Riley on the sidelines when the Heat won all those games and couldn't get over the hump. Wade and Shaquille O'Neal climbed the mountain one blazing season.

The minuses

There's only one basketball. The spotlight would have to be shared with Wade. If he's looking to blaze his own trail, a la Kobe, it's something to consider.

The need

That championship season of 2006 has been fading fast into the rearview mirror. All that's left now is a roster that struggles to get into the playoffs and can't advance.

The odds


Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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