LeBron James Chooses the Miami Heat

by July 08, 2010

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

For the world’s most prized basketball player, and a handful of NBA franchises, it comes down to a bizarre, strangely orchestrated, 1-hour live television special tonight.

A few minutes past 9pm, LeBron James will look into ESPN‘s cameras, and announce what the future holds for him and some lucky team.

According to several published reports, said lucky team — for now, anyway — appears to be the Miami Heat.

Newsday was the first media outlet to break the story late last night, which was quickly followed up by similar reports from ESPN, the Plain Dealer and Yahoo!:

All indications are that LeBron James is leaning toward signing with the Miami Heat on Thursday night, according to several sources with knowledge of the situation. Barring a late change of heart, sources say James has decided to join fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a potential NBA powerhouse.

Chris Paul, one of James’ best friends, has urged him to stay in Cleveland and let new Cavaliers coach Byron Scott coach him, according to sources. With such strong sentiment around him to not go to Miami, it’s possible James could alter his decision. James’ family and friends are divided over his decision to play in Miami, according to sources. Opinions range from understanding his desire to play with All-Star teammates, to feeling he is selling himself short by joining Wade’s team, to concerns that playing on such a power-packed squad will hurt his brand even if he wins championships.

James worked hard to help the Cavaliers improve their roster, sources said. He tried to sell Bosh on the idea of going to Cleveland, but the 6-foot-11 forward was adamant he did not want to play in northeast Ohio. While sources close to James insist his heart is in Cleveland and remaining with the Cavaliers was his preferred choice, they say he had concerns about signing a six-year deal there and ending up “31 years old, with bad knees and no title.”

Of course, nothing will truly be known until tonight’s event. We’ll all have to tune in to find out what “The Decision” is.

For the time being, however, it appears that the NBA may be on the verge of adding its latest powerhouse, down on South Beach.

UPDATE: Well, ‘Bron Bron ultimately chose to play with Wade, Bosh and 9 other random dudes in Miami. Should be a hell of a season next year. Much more on this tomorrow, obviously.