Feb 11, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James prior to the game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Heat defeated the Suns 103-97. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns: The LeBron James Free Agency Pitch


LeBron James is coming off four consecutive NBA Finals appearances with the Miami Heat, but there’s a chance he’ll opt out of his contract and test free agency this summer. If he does, every team in the NBA will be making their free agency pitch to the best player in the world, so why the hell not? Here’s what the Phoenix Suns’ pitch to LeBron James would look like.

Dear LeBron James,

Let’s not beat around the bush. You’ve got a huge decision to make this summer. We know you’re more than familiar with Decisions, but as you face another critical one surrounding your possible free agency this summer, we’re going to try and make this year’s rendition a little easier with a suggestion: You should strongly consider taking your talents to the Southwest as a member of the Phoenix Suns.

This may seem like it’s coming out of left field, but let’s be honest: if you choose to opt out of your contract with the Heat this summer, every single team in the NBA will do whatever it takes to try and sign you to a deal. Your friendly rival Kevin Durant may have won his first MVP award this season, but everyone knows you’re still the best player in the world.

And that’s precisely why Phoenix, and everyone else in the league, wants you to join our team, Bron Bron. Last season, the Suns won 48 games in the brutal Western Conference and became just the fourth team in NBA history to miss the playoffs with a record that impressive. We’re not going to spend our time bashing the East, but let’s be real: your championship contending team only won six more games than us last season, while playing in a much weaker conference. You guys grabbed the second seed, we got hosed at No. 9.

Can you imagine how many games we’d win together, especially considering what this team of perceived outcasts accomplished last season under rookie head coach Jeff Hornacek? Goran Dragic was an All-NBA point guard, an egregious All-Star snub and won the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year Award. Did you know who were the only three players this season to average at least 20 points and five assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor? You, KD…and the Dragon.

But how have we gotten this far without mentioning your boy Eric Bledsoe? Your friendship with this up-and-coming star is no secret, and as much as you’re the ultimate teammate for consistently defending Mario Chalmers, you can certainly admit Bledsoe would be a much less frustrating choice at the point guard position. That goes double for Goran Dragic.

This brings us to a slightly depressing point, but one that should be of the utmost importance to you: You have very little reason to have faith in Miami. We know that Pat Riley is already thinking of ways to tweak this roster and we’ve all heard the Carmelo Anthony rumors. But this latest Finals series put the world on notice that Dwyane Wade‘s knees don’t have much explosion left. Chris Bosh quickly became a non-factor. Ray Allen is mulling retirement and Shane Battier has already announced he’s done.

That means your best option is to move on. You’ve already given Miami two championships and after the way you left the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’d be kind of silly to choose the “loyalty” path now, especially with a Heat team whose title window is closing faster than you think. So where to? Well, you already saw what happened to your reputation when you built your first super-team. So even though you might not care what your critics think, is forming another All-Star team what you want your legacy to be?

Joining the Suns not only shows you’re a guy who just wants more than just playing with his superstar buddies, but it also would be a savvy move because Phoenix has all the right pieces you need to contend for a championship. Obviously it starts with you, but both Dragic and Bledsoe are upgrades over Chalmers, Wade and Norris Cole.

LeBron James

Apr 9, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) celebrates with guard Goran Dragic (1) against the New Orleans Pelicans in the second half at the Smoothie King Center. The Suns won 94-88. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

You were the only Heat player who didn’t struggle to convert from downtown in the Finals; the Suns were one of the best and most active three-point shooting teams in the league this year. Dragic shot 41 percent from three-point range this year. Channing Frye shot 37 percent. Gerald Green shot 40 percent. Marcus Morris shot 38 percent. Can you imagine how devastating our offense would be with defenses worrying about penetration from you, Dragic and Bledsoe, PLUS shooters on the wings and in the corners?

In Miami you never really had a dominant center, and while that would still be the case if you joined the Suns, Phoenix has two young and promising prospects in Miles Plumlee and Alex Len. Plus, the Heat survived on small-ball lineups before, so why couldn’t a Suns team with even better shooters do the same? On defense, you and Bledsoe would form a formidable perimeter defense that would make the offense even more devastating, especially when steals lead to easy transition points. Oh and by the way? The Suns led the league in fast break points this season.

Furthermore, Phoenix would be able to afford you while also representing a fresh start. The Heat were a fun and successful experiment, but Miami had already won a championship with Dwyane Wade. If you joined the Suns, you’d be playing for a team that’s never ascended to the NBA throne. Do you have any idea how revered and beloved you’d be among fans here if you helped one of the NBA’s historically successful franchises finally win its first title? Your legacy would read much more favorably in Phoenix compared to winning more titles with another super-team.

LeBron James

Feb 11, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James prior to the game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

All in all, this is your Decision (2.0). But as much as Wade and Bosh are your brothers, you want to win more titles to fix that 2-3 Finals record you’ve got. You’re still in your prime, but their best days are behind them. Joining a less glamorous franchise like the Suns would show the world that you’re not in it for the money or teaming up with your superstar pals. The world wouldn’t say the same if you joined the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers or whatever other team would make room for you.

This could be your defining moment, to choose to start over with a team that’s one piece away from being a serious contender. You could be The Man in a way you’ve never been before, with a young but talented core that’s hungry to bring Phoenix its first title. You could play with one of the league’s best, young backcourts, tons of quality role players/shooters and a head coach that finished second in Coach of the Year voting. If you want to keep winning championships without that super-team criticism following you, the Phoenix Suns are the ideal location for you.

Sincerely,

Gerald Bourguet
Phoenix Suns savant and Assistant To The Regional Editor of Hoops Habit
(Acting on behalf of Ryan McDonough)

Tags: Lebron James NBA Free Agency Phoenix Suns

  • Joe Tokoph

    I don’t want Lebron James in Phoenix. I think we can find someone that’s a better fit and less egotistical. The current Suns team has earned the right to have a team player not someone that thinks they deserve everything. If there is another ESPN show called “The Decision” I’m going to puke.

    • http://hoopshabit.com Gerald Bourguet

      I understand some people still don’t like LeBron James for The Decision, but a better fit than the best player in the world? Not sure you’re going to find a better fit than that, especially since the Suns need help on the wing. I maybe see your point on the ego thing when it comes to the court, but off the court he’s a pretty regular guy and he’s the ultimate team player on the court. If Suns fans want a championship, this hypothetical scenario of adding LeBron is the best way to get there.

      • Joe Tokoph

        I don’t think hes the best player in the world. The best player in the World doesn’t lose in the Finals, case in point?
        Michael Jordan played in 6 finals and won all 6 of them.
        I just think the Suns can do well without LJ. Hes going to cost us a fortune and so we will have to give up a lot of what made the Suns fun to watch. If Phx can get 1 maybe 2 high percentage shooters they will be just fine, and it wont cost us so much.

        • http://hoopshabit.com Gerald Bourguet

          If LeBron isn’t the best player in the world, who is? Kevin Durant, who lost in the WCF? Tim Duncan, who’s 38 years old? Kawhi Leonard? That line of logic doesn’t reveal who the best player in the world is, especially since the Spurs were the better all-around team and LeBron got little help from his supporting cast. Put him in a Suns uniform and it wouldn’t be long before you were rooting for him because of what he can do on a basketball court.

        • Phil Watson

          Yes, because every NBA Finals is played 1-on-5, and that one guy always should win if he’s the best player in the world.

  • http://HonkasaloAnalytics.com Mika Honkasalo

    The Suns right now are exactly what Cleveland should have been trying to build with LeBron from the start. Young guys who can grow old together. A-la OKC. Not just trying to go the “Oh we have Bron, let’s get some vets and win now!” route

    • WLX(AL)

      Indeed. Although it’s all thanks to the new GM that turned it around last off season. The Suns could have had another high draft pick and bad season if it wasn’t for the trades that just fit perfectly. Phoenix’s future last year didn’t look bright. It took one year for the Sun’s to turn it around and almost get back into the playoffs. The team just needs more offense from the SF and better rebounding/defense at the PF position. If Collison and Chris Paul were able to play well together, then Dragic and Bledsoe can do it for quite some time…

  • http://empoprise-bi.blogspot.com/ John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises)

    While this is a good analysis, it’s missing discussion of three key factors that would enter into any Decision – the owner, the general manager, and the coach. For example, here’s how LeBron would analyze a potential return to Cleveland:
    OWNER: Dan Gilbert
    Right at that point, the decision is no.
    I admit that I’m not familiar with the current Suns organization (I live in southern California – we’re the guys who jump into other people’s swimming pools), and I’m sure that the Suns owner is much better than Dan Gilbert, but LeBron will need to evaluate ownership and management before making any decision, since a star player or up and coming player is one trade or injury away from becoming a non-factor.

    • http://hoopshabit.com Gerald Bourguet

      Hey John, thanks for reading. As far as your three key factors, I touch one one of them – the coach – in the piece. Hornacek finished second in Coacy of the Year voting this season. As far as the GM is concerned, Ryan McDonough turned a team that posted the second-worst record in franchise history in 2012-13 into a 48-win surprise in 2013-14, over the course of just one offseason. Owner Robert Sarver isn’t the greatest owner in the world, but he has hired some good people (McDonough, Hornacek) recently and it feels like things are finally starting to turn around in Phoenix.

  • GB

    Well written. I’m a Suns fan that respects LBJ’s abilities, but have been steadily growing to dislike him overall due to his decision to hop on a team that already had Wade while convincing Bosh to join (3 Team USA starters on one team in the East is just messed up to every other NBA team and their fans). Then he did that stupid announcement for it and he’s constantly traveling, flopping, complaining and moping when they lose.

    All that being said you are right, he’d be our best shot at helping the Suns win their first title and who knows maybe he could redeem himself with some improved attitude and sportsmanship. The Suns are one of a small group of teams that has a very good young core and one of the best coaches in the league so I think it’s an ideal place for him or Love to end up. Phoenix is a beautiful city with a ton of stuff to do and it’s about 4 hours to LA and the ocean so the location has appeal as well. Whether it’s LBJ, Love or another superstar, as a fan of the team for 15+ years I’d love to see us pick up a big name all star without giving up too much so we can get back into contention for the title.

    • http://hoopshabit.com Gerald Bourguet

      Thank you! It’s been a bit surprising seeing how many Suns fans have that view of LeBron, but it’s good you’re fair enough to admit he’d be able to redeem himself to those fans if he came to a place like Phoenix that’s still hungry for that first championship.

  • john

    If LeBron brought a banner to Phoenix, he would be praised like no other Phoenix athlete before him, and that’s including the likes of Johnson, Schilling, Gonzo, Warner, Barkley, KJ, the Hawk, Westphal…you name the athlete, and every one of them would be shoved aside for the man who brings the Phoenix Suns the NBA title.

    • Joe Tokoph

      I wont praise him. I dont like him.

  • http://www.piratearian.com/ Capt Jack

    You forgot the weather, living on a nice golf course…. OK summer sucks but he will be on VACA. Come to PHX LaBron

  • Joe Tokoph

    Sorry folks I’m definitely not a fan of LJ never was never will be. Don’t worry the Suns front office doesn’t listen to me anymore. :)

  • Pops Poy

    I would be the happiest Suns fan if Lebron decides to play for Phoenix. Phoenix has everything that players dream of. 1) strong and winning history, 5th highest in all time winning percentage (Nash Era and Sir Charles title run) 2) Top notch medical staff and training staff which help in prolonging the career of Grant Hill. 3) Great coach(Jeff Hornacek) 4) a savvy front office (Ryan Mcdonnough) 5) young talented and promising roster. (Dragic, Bledsoe, Green, Morris twin, Plumlee, Len, Goodwin, Tucker, 4 first round picks and at least 5 more in the future.) 6) Cap space. Phoenix can pay you a lot of money and can sign another star player. So Lebron James please come to Phoenix. Everything is an upgrade for you.