LeBron James told the world on Thursday night that he will join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat this fall.
He is still clearly the top fantasy basketball player in the NBA, but this should change everyone's outlook for the three stars in South Beach. None of these guys will likely lead the NBA in scoring, and with Bosh being a post player and LeBron being a good passer the rebound and assist numbers for for all three could come down. But what should owners expect moving forward?
LeBron will probably see his points per game slide to around 20, but he could legitimately be a triple-double candidate on a nightly basis. Bosh is the most athletic big LeBron has played with, so his backside blocked shot opportunities could go up as well. So while his scoring might slide, his overall production could be on a historic level.
For Wade, who owns Miami, he should take the lead role as he did when the three were teammates in the Olympics. He will likely be the primary ball handler and leading scorer, and will be Option One in crunch time. His blocked shots won't be as important, but he could see an increase in steals this year. Overall, look for Wade's secondary numbers to slide a little but his scoring to increase.
Bosh is a wild card. He'll be the third scoring option in Cleveland now, so expecting anything more than an average somewhere in the high teens isn't realistic. However, because of the limited depth on the Heat roster because of the three big contracts, Bosh will be asked to suck up a lot of the rebounding responsibility. He could be an 18-13 guy for the Heat this year.
Overall, Bosh figures to have the biggest impact on his numbers, and it will be a negative impact. Indeed, Chicago's Carlos Boozer has probably moved ahead of Bosh now in PF rankings because of his role with the Bulls. However, all three are still elite players.
In Cleveland, the Cavs will now scramble to be a relevant NBA, and fantasy, team. Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams could play more prominent roles, but there is clearly a void that needs to be filled by two or three players.
For the Knicks, Amar'e Stoudemire is now in need of a running mate. The Nets added Travis Outlaw on Thursday, and should have a competitive young core without LeBron; indeed, the better team in New York might be the Nets this winter.