LeBron James' decision to leave the sunny shores of South Beach to return home to Ohio is a sentimental one, sure to earn him glowing press and the adulation of Cavaliers fans. But it's also a seismic one for the NBA landscape, which had been waiting on tenterhooks to see where James would end up. With the league's Number One free agent returning to Cleveland, Pat Riley's title-winning empire in Miami will likely collapse around him, and the destinations of other marquee players like Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Love, and Chris Bosh are suddenly up in the air.
When Riley and his title-winning star Wade assembled the 2010 superteam that went to four NBA Finals in a row (winning twice), James, Wade, and his co-star Chris Bosh took less money to make it happen. This summer, they all opted out of their contracts, but pundits figured they were simply going to re-structure their deals, allowing James to take the maximum amount, with Bosh perhaps getting a little less and the shakier Wade taking a pay-cut. The allure of playing with James would be more than enough to keep Bosh in Miami, but with James leaving, it looks like Bosh will be taking his talents to Houston.
Bosh, a "stretch" power forward who can shoot, play on the wing, and defend, would fit perfectly on the Rockets, who have two superstars of their own (James Harden and Dwight Howard.) And the team wants him badly, reportedly offering him $88 million over four years and working to offload players to make room for him. Backup center Omer Asik will go to New Orleans and point guard (and publicity machine) Jeremy Lin will go to Philadelphia; or maybe the Lakers, according to the latest rumors (UPDATE: He went to the Lakers). On paper, Bosh would turn the already-great Houston (the #4 seed in the Western Conference last year) into a serious title contender.