<
>

Don't make the wrong move, LeBron

Hey LeBron, we're just trying to warn you before it's too late. AP Photo/Tony Dejak

The NBA free-agent frenzy is finally here.

And while it's the biggest collection of talent ever assembled on the open market at one time, there's no disputing that the big catch is LeBron James.

James, the Cleveland Cavaliers star, has been rumored or linked to just about every team with enough salary-cap space to sign both him and another max-money player -- even the Los Angeles Clippers. That's how crazy the anticipation has been.

Most people agree that James needs another star player alongside him in order to get his first NBA championship. But James would be better off going to a different franchise and bringing a player with him, as opposed to joining a star player already established somewhere.

Sure, you have to believe the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets have a shot at landing LeBron. Both have money to spend and high-profile people in their corners, trying to lure King James to the Big Apple.

To most who know anything about New York and how big sports and athletes are in the city, it would seem like a no-brainer. After all, James is one of the biggest Yankees fans going.

Yet James' name has been linked to two other cities more often than to New York.

Here are the top 10 reasons LeBron James shouldn't sign a contract with either the Miami Heat or the Chicago Bulls:

10. Neither city is so nice that they named it twice.

Plus, New York has two theme songs now. There's old school: "New York, New York'' by Frank Sinatra. Then there's new school: "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.

Look it up. Miami's theme song is the one used on "The Golden Girls." Cool if you're a retired woman with white hair. But lame if you're an NBA superstar.

9. Even if James joins the Heat, it's still Dwyane Wade's team. He has already won a championship without James. Fans down there will look at James as a Johnny-come-lately who grabbed the easiest path to getting a title, on Wade's back.

8. James wouldn't be able to see the hoop as clearly as in seasons gone by because of Joakim Noah's hair getting in the way. James could actually go scoreless in a game if Noah had a bad hair day. This dilemma could be a killer to a superstar's career scoring average.

7. "Miami Vice" was canceled by NBC a long time ago. Those are reruns on TV.

6. Michael Jordan played in Chicago. And he didn't just win six championships. He was perfect. He was 6-for-6 in the NBA Finals, and won the Finals MVP after each of those six series.

There's nothing worse than playing in the shadow of a living legend. No matter what James is able to do there, it would be compared to the excellence Jordan set as a standard.

James should want to establish his own legacy, in a city that hasn't won a championship, or with a franchise that hasn't won a title since, say, 1973.

5. Pat Riley is only a part-time coach. If he believes the team has a chance to win a title, he wants to coach. But if someone gets hurt, or he doesn't think he can get all the credit at the end, he'll pass the team off to some unproven understudy. It's not a good look.

4. Chicago's not called the Windy City because of all the big-talking politicians out there. It is cold and windy there during the NBA season. So much so, it would make James not want to go to practice and possibly miss games. People in Chicago are known more for staying in and drinking hot chocolate than working hard to improve their skills.

3. Shaquille O'Neal is no longer in Miami. His tenure with the Heat included the only time that upstart franchise won a title. And how did the Heat thank Shaq? They shipped him off to Phoenix after they used him to put them on the map. James shouldn't want to be used and mistreated by such an uncaring franchise.

2. The shopping in downtown Brooklyn is out of this world. Ten pairs of tube socks for just $5. And you can get a pair of Air Jordans on the cheap. (Scratch that, they might be knockoffs.)

1. There's already a statue in front of the United Center.

Rob Parker is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com

More from ESPNNewYork.com ยป