LeBron James is a wanted man. Just after the first day of the NBA free-agent signing period, at least six teams (including his current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers) want a sit down to discuss a deal.
Of course, you and I both know that the Cavs don’t have a chance. Despite being able to offer LeBron a bit more money than the other teams due to the complicated NBA rules, the Cavs aren’t considered a favorite to win a title any time soon. And James, who has so far managed to stayed out of the trouble that many other sports stars seem to run into (Tiger, Roethlisberger, anyone?), is said to crave the big lights, big city attention that can’t be found in Cleveland.
That would logically send him to New York. He met with the hapless New Jersey Nets first and was then off to see the New York Knicks. The Knicks have reportedly been pounding on James’ door, even going so far as to clear the bench to make way for James.
So which team is tops on James’ wish list? Allegedly, Miami. And not for the reasons you’d think. Yes, it has that glamour factor that James is reportedly seeking. But it also has… tax relief. Speculation is rampant that James may choose the Miami Heat over the New York Knicks purely for tax reasons. New York has some of the highest taxes in the country. LeBron would be forced to shell out more than $10 million over five years to the state alone. Not so in tax-favored Florida.
But is a $10 million tax break enough to lure LeBron to the land of sun and surf? While attorneys and tax pros are salivating yes, most sports fans are betting no. And here’s why: LeBron already has money and he has endorsement deals. He wants to be a champion. More likely, he wants to be the next Michael Jordan (he already wears number 23). And many speculate that won’t happen if he moves to Florida. According to New Jersey Nets owner (and billionaire) Prokohorov, “You cannot be a global icon if you play in Miami.” Do you believe him?