ESPN’s Jeff Goodman on D&C: LeBron James ‘probably gone’ from Miami after opting out of contract
|06.24.14 at 10:15 am ET|
ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Goodman checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to discuss LeBron James‘ decision to opt out of his contract with the Heat and become a free agent, and if there is any chance James might end up in Boston. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The question on people’s minds is why James — who still could re-sign with Miami — would opt out of his deal with a team that has reached four straight NBA Finals (winning two).
“Because he’s LeBron. He’s LeBron and he’s got people around him that just don’t know how to deal with these things, as proven by a few years ago,” Goodman said. “Whether it’s Rich Paul, his agent, or Nike, or whoever’s telling him to do these things …
“I agree, I think he’s probably gone. Because you don’t make this move publicly and put yourself out there unless you’re ready to leave. Miami’s made it clear they obviously want him. They’ll do whatever it takes to keep him. Again, it comes back to it’s a dumb move to put yourself out there like this. You could be the hero by just saying, ‘Hey, listen, I’m not opting out, I’m just coming back, I want to be in Miami.’
“But you guys are right, listen, if he’s opting out at this point it certainly means he’d rather be elsewhere. He’s got questions with Miami — which he should have, to be honest, in some regards. Because Dwyane Wade looked like the broken-down Dwyane Wade. They don’t have enough help around him right now, with Wade at the level he’s at. When Wade was a top-15 player in the league you could see them continue to win titles. But how are they going to do it now if Wade — who I think will probably finish his career in Miami — sticks around. You don’t have a lot of flexibility.”
The move comes one day after Carmelo Anthony opted out his deal with the Knicks, increasing speculation that the pair might end up on the same team.
“That’s going to be the million-dollar question. I think it’s too early to tell right now,” Goodman said. “I’ve heard for two years how he’s going to go back to Cleveland. I thought it would be his last stop; I thought he’d go to Cleveland on the next contract, when he’s 34 years old and wants to kind of finish it up in Cleveland and maybe kind of matures and understands.
“I think he’s in it to win more titles, and I’m not sure Cleveland, while they have certainly more talent than they did the last time around with him, it’s still a dysfunctional unit right now. Kyrie Irving is not the leader. Now, could he be with LeBron in the locker room? Sure. Dion Waiters is a concern in that locker room. Yes, they have the No. 1 pick, and Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins would look darn good playing with LeBron. Anybody looks good playing with LeBron, let’s face it.
“I don’t know where he ends up. The Lakers is intriguing. Imagine LeBron a couple of years with Kobe [Bryant]. And then you’re going to add one more piece. Let’s be honest, if you’ve got LeBron and Kobe, they’re going to attract a third guy there. So the Lakers would scare me a little bit in terms of a place that I think he could end up. Because it’s desirable, and the market, certainly going to L.A. and teaming up with Kobe, that would be kind of fun — or maybe not so much fun for other teams to watch.”
Goodman cautioned Celtics fans not to get excited about the possibility of James landing in Boston.
“I just can’t see this in any way possible, shape or form happening where LeBron James is ever wearing a Celtics uniform at this point in time,” Goodman said. “They don’t have enough to lure him. And that’s the issue right now. You’ve got to lure him here. He’s been in the Miami for the last few years. Why would he want to come to Boston?
“And again, I’ll say it and I’ll say it again, and I know people hate me for saying it, but not a lot of guys want to play with [Rajon] Rondo. They’re not waiting in line to play with Rondo. I know it sounds crazy, because here’s a guy who averages 10 assists a game. But he’s also a guy who doesn’t have great relationships with the players in the league. And I know this because I talk to all these players.”