One of the biggest decisions in NBA free agency history was the decision of LeBron James to join the Miami Heat in 2010. By joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, he formed a superteam that would change the landscape of basketball forever.
When looking back on the events leading up to the decision, LeBron and Wade admitted that they discussed teaming up in Chicago instead of the Miami Heat. What would have happened if they followed through with that thought? Would they have won more championships with the Chicago Bulls than they did in Miami? How would it impact each players’ legacy?
If LeBron James and Dwyane Wade decided to join the Bulls, they would have been joining a talented young team. They would be joining an explosive guard in Derrick Rose, who won the MVP award in 2011. If LeBron and Wade joined the team, Rose probably would not win that MVP, but he might be willing to sacrifice the trophy in hindsight if he knew it meant winning more championships. LeBron and Wade would give him that chance.
LeBron and Wade would have turned the Chicago Bulls into a dynasty. With Rose still on a rookie contract, the Bulls would have the financial flexibility to add James and Wade. They might have even been able to add another star like Chris Bosh. Even if that didn’t happen, the Bulls would have been good for a while, and they would have won at least two championships.
The first reason they would have won so many championships is that there would be no team in the East standing in their way. The Chicago Bulls were one of the biggest competitors for the Miami Heat in the East. If LeBron and Wade were on the Bulls, there really wouldn’t be any team that would stop them from reaching the Finals.
The second reason is that the overall team would arguably be better than the roster the Heat had. Even without having four superstars, the Bulls would have plenty of shooting, defense, and depth on their roster to beat any team. If they did add a player like Bosh, then they would easily win championships. There is also a chance they continue to improve by drafting players like Jimmy Butler, who was drafted 30th overall and would likely still end up on the Bulls.
The only thing that would have prevented the Bulls from becoming a dynasty is health. Derrick Rose battled several injuries in his career. The Bulls, with LeBron and Wade, would not be able to be successful without Rose.
Impact on Legacy
Part of the reason that Dwyane Wade is so respected across the NBA is that he forever connected his name with the Miami Heat. He played there for the majority of his career and helped them win three championships. While it would have been nice to see him play for his hometown team in Chicago, it is hard to envision Wade establishing himself as an all-time great anywhere else other than Miami. While it is possible that Wade could have won more championships in Chicago, he would likely have had less of an impact on the NBA. We would not talk about him as much as we do as the greatest Miami Heat player of all time.
Miami was a place for LeBron to mature and develop as an NBA player. In order to become the NBA legend that he is today, he had to be humbled by his 2011 Finals loss to the Mavericks. On other teams, the blame wasn’t typically placed on LeBron, but he had to take responsibility for this loss. That is part of what made Heat Culture so important for LeBron’s development. He not only improved his skill and played the best defense of his career, but he also learned how to win by responding well to loss. That might not have happened on the Bulls. LeBron James is a generational NBA talent, so he would have succeeded on any team, but it is safe to say that his decision to join the Miami Heat was the best for his career.
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