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.
Off-season plan for the Suns: Sign LeBron & re-sign Bledsoe & trade for Love & build a statue for Goran & save game before turning off Xbox.
— Sreekar (@sreekyshooter) April 15, 2014
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.
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.
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.
Phoenix Suns savant and Assistant To The Regional Editor of Hoops Habit
(Acting on behalf of Ryan McDonough)