Money, Power, Respect – The Keys to NBA Free Agency

As Lil’ Kim and The Lox rapped back in the day, “It’s the key to life. Money. Power. Respect.”  I propose that this phrase holds the key to NBA free agency.

Whether or not this little get together where all of the big name NBA free agents got together to discuss their futures actually happened, we do know that they are friends and they do talk.  We also know that these guys are highly competitive individuals and businessmen.  This is why the speculation that this summit or the discussions revolved around notion that LeBron, Wade, and Bosh were going to team up in Miami to form a Dream Team makes no sense.  Why is that?  Well, let’s look at the facts and then add a pinch of conspiracy theory.

First and foremost, when it comes to professional sports, always remember what Wu-Tang preached: Cash Rules Everything Around Me (C.R.E.A.M.) Just follow the money, baby.  There was no way Joe Johnson or Rudy Gay leave their teams if their respective franchises offered them the max, and it seems like this is exactly what is going to happen.  This reason #1 why I doubt a Bron-Wade-Bosh team-up happens.  I think Bosh knows he can get the “uber-max” via sign and trade and there were rumors last week that this is how Bosh would end up Miami.  This means both Bosh and Wade would be earning more money than LeBron.  Do you really think King James is going to go to a franchise where: A) He won’t be the alpha-dog (Miami is Wade’s town) and B) TWO players are making more cash than him, the reigning two-time MVP?  I don’t think so.  This is also why I don’t think Bron and Bosh is happening in Chicago.  I cannot see a scenario where LeBron isn’t the highest paid player on his team (or co-highest – FORESHADOWING!)  In sum, I can’t see these three teaming up because LeBron and Wade are too competitive to share the limelight and both want money, power, and respect.  Sure, they could acquire all of these things together, but who knows how the public will view their individual legacies if they decide to go down this path.  When you operate on the level of LeBron and Dywane Wade, you don’t want to share with anybody.

This is why I think the conspiracy theorists have it all wrong.  These “summits” and discussions aren’t to form some unstoppable “Voltron” of a team.  Think about it.  When was the NBA at it’s apex?  If you’re thinking to yourself: “MJ’s Bulls” then you’re wrong.  The most exciting time in the league was when Magic’s Lakers and Bird’s Celtics would battle for titles and they had the greatest rivalry in sports history.  LeBron and Wade love this game and they’re businessmen too.  They know there is a more exciting option than them forming an alliance with Chris Bosh.  Instead of them all teaming up together and dominating the league, Wade teams up with Bosh, LeBron teams up with Ama’re and then they battle it out every year to see who wins the championship.  Seriously, what would be more fun and exciting than this?  What would be better than a modern day Magic vs. Bird rivalry with Ama’re and Bosh as the All Star complementary players?

Think about it.  I’m sure a Heat team featuring LeBron, Wade, and Bosh would get crazy ratings the first time they made the finals.  The excitement might even be there the second time around.  But think of how we chew teams up and spit them out these days.  We got sick of the Shaq-Kobe Lakers, people despise the Patriots now (ditto the Red Sox,) and the Yankees have been hated for an eternity.  Jordan’s Bulls might be the only exception, but you know what?  We need to stop bringing Jordan up.  Jordan was an aberration.  There will never be a player and an individual quite like Jordan.  For whatever reason, no one ever got sick of Jordan the same way they get sick of most athletes that dominate their sport.  However, think of how exciting it would be to see LeBron and Wade have a showdown in the Eastern Conference finals every year to see who gets to play Kobe/Melo for the title.  While we may get sick of dynasties, we LOVE our rivalries.  Lakers-Celtics; Cowboyws-49ers; Knicks-Heat; Yankees-Red Sox; North Carolina-Duke; etc., etc.  Heck, the Knicks-Pacers rivalry got a 30 for 30 documentary and the Knicks-Heat rivalry was must see TV and I wouldn’t consider any of those team pretty to watch.  For all of you locked into the World Cup right now, the beautiful game it was not.

There you have it.  This is what has to happen.  LeBron and Wade know what’s up.  They don’t want to share the glory.  They know how to make money.  They know what will get ratings and exposure for the league.  Folks, we’re about to enter an NBA golden age.  LeBron and the big man of his choice vs. Wade and the big man of his choice.  Personally, I’m excited to see which duo can bring a team together and make get the most out of their teammates because, after all, it is a 5 on 5 game.  However, in the center ring will be LeBron and Wade, duking it out for all the money, power, and respect.  And the only way to do so is to win titles.  May the best man win.

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