I’m an Orlando Magic homer, but I’m also a realist. When Dwight Howard tucked what I assumed was his balls between his legs and demanded a trade, I knew my team was in for a long, difficult, and unpleasant rebuilding process.
However, I believe the Magic and LeBron could benefit from a partnership. For the record, I’m a former LeBron hater. He has proven his worth though.
This is the man who made the 2009-2010 Cavaliers squad into a 60-win team. Without LeBron’s presence, that team could have easily been one of the worst in NBA history. He carried a disjointed mess to the playoffs single-handedly, which assures me that, with the support, on-and-off the court, available in Orlando, he could continue winning championships.
Talking big heads on sports networks like to use the argument: “The grass may not be greener on the other side.” The problem with their speculation is: LeBron is the greener grass!
When LeBron left Cleveland, he left all he’d known since entering this world behind without a second glance. Regardless of whether he chooses to do the same to Miami this year, it’s inevitable that he will. The parallels are undeniable. Specifically, his projected responsibilities – picking up everyone else’s slack – haven’t changed despite changing his city.
His potential destinations are certain to include the usual suspects, when the time comes. The big four will always be New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas. There’s also the wild card of him going back to Cleveland – anything is possible.
His decision stretches beyond merely a cityscape, though, he must decide between Eastern or Western Conference. Common sense says he knows the Eastern, he’s comfortable in the Eastern, he’s respected in the Eastern, and, therefore, he ought to continue in the Eastern. Assuming he makes the smart choice by remaining in the Eastern Conference, there is a single hat I’d like to throw into the ring of cities: Orlando.
Orlando has a solid history of clearing cap space for those deemed worthy of it; Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Horace Grant, and Hedo Türkoglu are but a few examples. Orlando is willing to cater to those who are willing to deliver, and, currently, they’re very well under the cap and capable of carrying the financial command of a player like LeBron. In return, the Magic have Nikola Vučević, a competent center able to pave the path LeBron needs, a luxury he’s never had, and Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo would nicely round out a solid Magic-al quartet of formidable opponents on the court.
Beyond their current roster of increasingly strong players, Orlando has potential for more. The Magic have a plethora of draft picks, including two lottery picks in this upcoming draft, and an owner, Rich DeVos, who has shown he is willing to pay the luxury tax to secure a championship squad. Again, Orlando is willing to cater to those who are willing to deliver.
Considering the fact that Dwyane Wade’s knees are deteriorating faster than Roy Hibbert’s self esteem, Bosh is prone to disappearing for three-to-four games at any given time, and Miami doesn’t have the cap space to sign quality players, I’d say his situation is anything but promising. Miami is incapable of substantiating success without LeBron, yet they are subsequently incapable of making his success easier to obtain.
The bottom line is, either Miami will wear out LeBron or LeBron will wear out of Miami.
Orlando has nice weather, no state income tax, Oladipo, Harris, Vučević, a generous owner, two lottery picks, and enough cap space to entice LeBron, – but that’s just the beginning. He deserves a team of players who will finally pull their own weight, allowing the star to rise further than anyone thought possible.
And, yes, my pompous ass thinks my hometown is the only metropolis able to deliver it.