It looks like LeBron may very well end up back in a Heat uniform next year, so this post may be a little late. But I thought it would be interesting to go over why LeBron can't go certain places. The Decisions (Part I and II) could have been even more intriguing if every single fan out there could legitimately hope that King James was coming to their team. Instead, last time it came down to Chicago, Cleveland and Miami and maybe the Knicks and Nets as well. The reality is that this time around there may be even more restrictions involved for the superstar who supposedly can go wherever he wants.
With all the backlash that happened last time, LeBron is likely going to avoid certain situations. There were complaints that he was teaming up with a top-5 player in Wade, who was really a batman of his own who already had a Finals MVP. This led to endless arguments about how great Scottie Pippen really was because that's who MJ had as his Robin. In my opinion, LeBron seems to have gotten a pass on this issue in the end because of all the health issues Wade has had and because LeBron has clearly shown that he was the best player on both of his championship teams. But the controversy that came up will cause LeBron to be cautious this time around. He probably can't team up with Carmelo and get away with it this time. And he definitely can't team up with Durant because Durant is already better than LeBron, but that's a whole different article. Kobe is probably off limits too because his past accomplishments will overshadow LeBron even though he's not that player anymore.
Secondly, LeBron can't go to a team that used to be a rival of his. This is where the Celtics come in. Boston fans generally don't like LeBron from what I've seen while living here. Bostonians don't like his arrogance and his whole personality. They may be able to get past that if it wasn't for the fact that they're so used to him being the enemy. In 2008 and 2010 the Celtics beat LeBron in the playoffs and the King returned the favor in 2011. It may sting more for LeBron than it does for Celtics fans because those two losses in 2008 and 2010 were absolutely devastating. In 08, nobody - not Kobe, not the Pistons - gave the Celtics more of a run for their money than did LeBron and his Cavs in that second round where Pierce and LeBron went blow for blow in Game 7. LeBron was only 23 then, but that was still a great opportunity that slipped away. An even greater one slipped away in 2010 when the Cavs were the best team in the NBA and fell to an underdog Celtics team in the same round. That was the low point of LeBron's career - he was accused of a lack of effort by Cleveland fans and eventually broke their hearts with The Decision that summer. LeBron's headaches all started with the Celtics.
And the whole point of bringing together the Big 3 in Miami was to beat one team: the Celtics. A lot has changed since then, with Pierce, Garnett and Allen gone, but could you really see LeBron in green after that backstory?
The most obvious reason LeBron won't consider Boston is the current lack of talent on the team. But the rival restriction still applies to some other teams that would otherwise be tempting: Indiana and San Antonio. Maybe the 2010 version of LeBron would consider a rival, but imagine the outcry this time if he ends up in a Spurs jersey. Most people will say "you can't team up with the team that just beat you in the Finals and still be compared to Jordan."
It's harder to tell whether warm temperatures will be a factor. LeBron did chose Miami last time and some athletes (Shaq) are notorious for only bouncing around to different sunny places. O'Neal went from Orlando to L.A. to Miami to Phoenix before admittedly getting over the obsession when he finished his career in Cleveland and Boston. I think LeBron would be open to a colder place, but would the basketball tradition in Boston be too much to live up to?
Which brings me to my last point. LeBron would never be considered the greatest Celtic of all-time to Boston fans unless he brought the city 12 championships, one more than Bill Russell. And how can you be the greatest player in the league's history if you're not even the best player in your franchise's history?