Posted Jun 20 2010 11:40PM
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 Chicago Bulls.
Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah. The complementary pieces are in place for LeBron to step right in and take a roster full of youthful potential right into the thick of the championship fight.
Lake Michigan, the Magnificent Mile, the Willis Tower Skydeck, the Jordan legacy. With one post-MJ championship, he could stand on the 103-story Skydeck and survey all that he owned.
If the desire is to win a championship or two or three and chase Kobe Bryant, then the Bulls are the best ready-made situation. Three of the spots in the starting lineup are filled and simply waiting for the lead horse to pull the wagon. Some players spend all their career trying to team up with a point guard like Derrick Rose.
Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan. Sure, there are other famous names in Chicago -- Ditka, Payton, Butkus, Sayers, Pippen, Banks -- but if LeBron lands here it is only to follow in the footsteps of the guy with the statue outside the United Center.
No other location among the most likely candidates casts a longer shadow of history than the Bulls with Jordan and his six championships. Everything he does, everything he says, will be measured against His Airness.
To some, the burden of carrying the Jordan torch could be downright intimidating. And if he was unsure about some of the playoff moves of Mike Brown in Cleveland, he would be getting a rookie head coach here in Tom Thibodeau.
If the Bulls win the LeBron Sweepstakes, they might go into the 2010-11 season as the consensus favorite in the Eastern Conference. But even without him, they could land another big free agent or two and find themselves in the mix for a top playoff seed.
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D.J. Augustin tips the pass, Nick Collison gets the loose ball and finds Augustin for the fastbreak layup.
|Thunder vs. Bulls|
Nikola Mirotic scores 26 points and collects 8 rebounds as the Bulls win a nail biter over the Thunder 108-105.
|To The Rack|
Nicolas Batum feeds Robin Lopez who elevates and throws it down.
|State Farm Audio Assist: Wesley Matthews|
Have a listen to Wesley Matthews inside the Mavericks-Blazers game.
|Moore's Big Shot|
Off the inbounds pass Pau Gasol finds E'Twaun Moore who drains the clutch 3-pointer.