2010: Offseason of opportunity

During the last year, one NBA headline has dominated the sports scene: the 2010 free agent sweepstakes. 
Yes, way back in 2008, basketball fans were clamoring over the fact that three of the best players in the world would potentially be available. But its unknown whether or not Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade or LeBron James will opt to even test the markets. 
Is it fair to the Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers to belittle them with talk of their contracted superstars leaving seasons before that’s even an option? Is this the direction sports are moving? 
Money is what will drive this story from now until the second LeBron makes his decision to stay or leave. King James is going to command more money than I can even fathom having in my lifetime, and cities and states will line up at their chances to woo him to boost their economy and, most importantly, win championships.
I know I’m making him sound like a godly figure, but it will happen. The apocalypse is supposed to happen in 2012, but the NBA salary apocalypse is coming first on July 1, 2010.
But why is this a big deal?
Whether he wears the number 23 or six, LeBron is this generation’s opportunity to see greatness. Basketball is the one sport that allows a single player to take over.
As amazing as it is to watch Peyton Manning do work, he can’t do it himself. LeBron can. Plain and simple, LeBron can make any viewer say “wow,” over and over again.
And for the same reason Michael Jordan is so revered by sports fans for captivating the masses, LeBron will do the same once his team is up to snuff.
In the case of Bosh, he should leave.
First of all, being in Toronto in the winter can’t be fun. Not to hate on Canada, but for someone who grew up in Dallas and went to Georgia Tech, the weather is probably not one of the positives.
At one point the Raptors’ future looked extremely bright. Bosh and T.J. Ford were supposed to be the future of a team destined to compete with the Orlando Magic and the Cavs. But Ford succumbed to injury problems and has since been dealt to Indiana Pacers.
The Raptors even had a No. 1 overall pick fall into their laps and they used that to pick Andrea Bargnani. I know…who, right?
The Raptors haven’t exactly panned out the way Bosh probably planned. His best option would be to leave. The Raptors’ future isn’t shining too brightly and if Bosh wants the Wade and King James-like attention, he should find a major sports market, like coughcoughChicago. 
But Wade brings up the most intriguing situation. LeBron was homegrown in Cleveland and is on a team that still had the best record in the NBA last year, regardless of whether or not they fell apart in the playoffs.
Wade grew up in Chicago and the Heat has been a very up and down team since they won the title in 2006.
His situation changes almost daily. One day, they play and have a great showing on the court. The next day, Michael Beasley has drugs in the background of a picture of his new tattoo on Twitter and has to go to rehab.
All of this has even led to speculation that there may be any combo of these three on the same team. During the course of the last two years, many teams have been dumping payroll and prepping their salary cap situations to give them as many resources in 2010, so they could capitalize on a potential trifecta of free agents.
Teams such as the New Jersey Nets and the New York Knicks will have a lot of money to throw at anyone, in particular LeBron, to try and bring the big-name player they so desperately desire.
All of this seems kind of backwards. Instead of reveling in the amazing dunks that Wade throws down on 6-foot-10 Anderson Varejao, people want the news on Wade’s possible whereabouts in a year. Even though that news will inevitably be obsolete in a week, let alone a year, because it’s always changing.
Basketball may be filled with travels and “crab dribbling,” but it’s a magical sport.
As I said before, basketball is the one place that one player can take over. Ever since bespectacled legend George Mikan first took the floor, basketball courts have been owned by singular greats. And even though sports are team games, it’s always fun to watch a 50-point performance.
Bill Hopkins is a sophomore sports communication major from Oswego. He is the Scout sports editor. 
Direct questions, comments and other responses to whopkins@mail.bradley.edu.