We don't know where LeBron James will sign. Hypothetically, only LeBron James knows that, but chances are he doesn't particularly know that, either.
But what we do know is that wherever LeBron goes, a sports columnist somewhere will have opinions about what LeBron James has done. Like the snake and the mongoose, like the giant squid and the whale, these two are eternally pitted against each other. LeBron James will win or lose and sports media will say that he is a horrible, very bad person.
We can't preview LeBron James' actual free agency outcome, but we can preview what sports columnists will say about it. Here are columns about every single decision LeBron could possibly make in the next few days, along with a few he probably won't.
LeBron stays with the Heat
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
For LeBron James, it's not about Miami -- it's about Mia-ME.
When he's winning, LeBron wants us to know he's the greatest. When he's losing, LeBron still makes it about him, cramping up so the cameras stay on him even in the middle of an important game. Cameras even followed LeBron down the hallway when he had to use the bathroom during a Finals game.
Surely, once the offseason came, we could stop paying attention, right?
Not a chance. Even in July, The LeBron Show keeps rolling. While Tim Duncan -- the guy who actually won the NBA championship -- quietly opted into his contract to remain with the Spurs, the Most Valuable Runner-Up made something that shouldn't have been news into the world's biggest story.
Congrats, King James. You used your royal powers to get us all to watch. But while thinking about how great you are, you lost the opportunity to win back your most loyal subjects: The fans in Cleveland.
Simply ditching his hometown on live TV four years ago wasn't enough. He had to give his former faithful the hope that he might return, only to dash their hopes once again.
2014 is the Selfie Era. It's no surprise the guy with his own app wants to make everything about him.
LeBron goes back to Cleveland
The Chosen One? More like the Chosen Cut-and-Run.
LeBron James had everything he wanted in Miami, from the glitz and glamor of South Beach to a team of superstars built around him that was good enough for four straight trips to the NBA Finals.
The King comes home
The King comes home
And that's where things got tough. In five career trips to the championship series, LeBron has managed to win just twice, a pitiful 40 percent Finals record. That sound you hear is Jordan and Kobe -- and Tim Duncan -- scoffing.
LeBron went to Miami because he thought he was ready to play with the big boys. But when the bullies showed up on the playground, he did what any petulant schoolchild would and ran all the way home.
In Cleveland, he won't have to worry about winning the big game, because there won't be any big games. Could Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins be great someday?
Maybe. But right now, they're unproven. LeBron is in the prime of his career, trading the guys who just took him to four straight finals for some guys who have been in a grand total of zero NBA playoff games.
Let's hope for LeBron's sake they never get good enough for LeBron to have to choke again. Or else in 2018, he might have to decide to head back to Miami.
LeBron signs with the Suns
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
2010 brought us "The Decision."
2014 brought us "The Deci$ion."
When LeBron James opted out of his contract with the Heat, we assumed he'd use his free agency to find the best opportunity to win. We forgot we were dealing with LeBron James, for whom winning has never been the No. 1 priority.
In his career, LeBron has earned $129 million. He could buy himself a new Lamborghini and a new Rolex every year for the rest of his life and still have more money than you or I will ever make left over. And that's before factoring in what he gets in sponsorships.
But the mountains of money weren't enough. Instead of trying to win with the Heat, he took cold hard cash.
I remember when our superstars used to play for the love of the game. The stars of the 50's and 60's and 70's barely made more than the milkman, but they played for the roar of the crowd and the thrill of victory. Hell, Dave Cowens drove cabs to make ends meet.
LeBron would rather tune out the crowd with his Beats by Dre headphones and he'd rather fill his bank account with money than fill his mantle with trophies.
LeBron doesn't care if he'll ever make the Hall of Fame. He only cares if he'll make the Hall of Pay-Me.
LeBron signs with the Rockets
Bob Levey/Getty Images Sport
We've criticized LeBron James for his flopping, but maybe we should've criticized him for his flip-flopping. Just four years after taking his talents to South Beach, he's taking them from South Beach.
Impact on Bosh
Bosh will sign with Rockets if LeBron leaves Miami
It's going to be all or nothing for the Heat this summer as Chris Bosh will head to Houston if LeBron leaves South Beach.
Impact on Bosh
His squad of SuperFriends wasn't good enough, so he's headed to Houston, where a new pair of stars -- Dwight Howard and James Harden -- are waiting.
LeBron is treating the NBA like his personal Baskin-Robbins -- we have 30 flavors, take a sampling of each before deciding your Team of the Month. But his sweet tooth shows why he'll never be one of the great ones.
The great ones didn't seek the easy road to greatness. They worked for everything they had. Michael Jordan never wandered. He had Scottie Pippen, and that was good enough for him.
He's not taking the cards dealt to him and making the best of it. He's trying to reshuffle the deck so he ends up with four aces.
Winning was too hard in Cleveland, so he left them behind for better teammates. Then winning with his new SuperFriends turned out to be too hard, so he's leaving them behind for -- supposedly -- better teammates.
Maybe the Rockets will win with LeBron, maybe they won't. But either way, Dwight and James shouldn't get too attached. If they don't win fast, LeBron will be out the door for his next group of superstars to lose with.
LeBron reveals he is a long-standing member of the Illuminati, which will make his free agency decision for him
Maybe you got distracted by LeBron James' big announcement.
Maybe you got blinded by the flash and deafened by the bang. Yes, there is a global shadowy conspiracy that has controlled the vast majority of world events, from international politics to entertainment, since the fall of the Roman Empire.
Maybe that's exactly what LeBron wants to happen.
LeBron and his friends -- presidents, rappers, and, as the human race saw for the first time today, Satan, the Prince of Darkness, who is very real and caused several reporters at the press conference to pass out from the overwhelming smell of sulphur -- can rig elections. They can cause wars. They can keep the balances of power and wealth to remain in the hands of the wealthy and evil.
But if LeBron has been in this group, how come he's only won two NBA championships?
The answer is obvious: LeBron James lacks the willpower to win. If he had the desire of a true champion, he'd have praised Baphomet enough to win his team more titles.
But he didn't.
We don't know if Michael Jordan was in the Illuminati or not. Quite frankly, that doesn't matter. If he won his titles by straightforward or nefarious means, he still won them.
LeBron James thinks he's bigger than basketball. Sure, LeBron's in an evil, all-powerful cabal, but don't let that fool you into thinking he's a good ca-baller.
LeBron is leaving hoops to focus on philanthropic endeavors
Many will applaud LeBron James for leaving sports behind to focus on the less fortunate. But his decision to ditch his on-court endeavors reveals something we always knew: The supposed King cares too much about others to truly rule.
We've seen LeBron pass in key moment after key moment. Some applauded his "playmaking ability." Others were smart enough to realize that he was dishing on his responsibility to help his team win.
In the end, it was that so-called selflessness that cost him. The inability to close late and in championship series left LeBron with a lackluster resume after being deemed the potential greatest of all time.
But LeBron realized something while going out of his way to help everybody else. If you really want to help others, sometimes you have to do the work yourself.
If LeBron hadn't worried about hurting his teammates' feelings and put the ball in the hoop himself, he'd have won more on the court. And you know what? Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and everybody else on his team would've happily cashed their checks as champions.
And if LeBron really wants to do the best thing he can for charity, he'd keep playing as long as he can. Earn as much money as possible so he can donate as much of it as possible to charity. Stay in the public spotlight for as many years as you can so your name means as much as possible.
I'm sure the needy will love to be helped by LeBron James, two-time NBA champion. But if he really wanted to help them out, he'd try his best to become LeBron James, four- or five-time NBA champion.
What LeBron wants is for us to think he's doing as much as he can. But by renouncing his throne, the King is proving he'd rather be seen as great than actually be great.
LeBron makes himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk and some cookies
You can't please everybody. That's something adults understand.
But LeBron James isn't an adult, and his snack choice Sunday afternoon is just the latest example.
Fans of peanut butter get to walk away happy, watching the superstar smear their beloved smooth legumes over a piece of white bread. Fans of jelly get to walk away happy, seeing the four-time MVP spread their favorite mashed fruits on another piece of white bread.
LeBron James wants to be all things to all people. He couldn't pick a team, changing from Cleveland to Miami to who-knows-where, trying to endear himself to locals across the country. He can't decide whether he wants to score and be the hero or whether to pass and let his teammates look good.
Is that why you disappear down the stretch, LeBron? Too busy worrying about fans of the other team going home sad?
LeBron wants to preserve his image, so he can be the smiling face on your box of Whatever Cereal Pays Him The Most. And that's why he compromises by doing things like eating peanut butter and jelly on the same sandwich.
But winners never compromise. Winners know they have to win, regardless of whether it costs them fans.
Like I said, adults understand sometimes they have to hurt people's feelings. Maybe LeBron will understand that when he grows up from his milk and cookies.
LeBron saves a village from a dragon
A few swings of his sword, some smiles for the cameras, and LeBron James was on to the next thing. Just like on the basketball court, he was the big hero.
But when LeBron killed Jormungandr, he killed a lot more than the enormous dragon that has ravaged the peasant village of Drayton-upon-Pembersham since the 1200's.
LeBron killed the town's fire department, who won't have to scurry to save thatched-roof cottages anymore. Soon, dozens of brave firemen will have to go home to their kids and explain why they don't have jobs anymore.
LeBron killed the town's tourism industry, which for decades has convinced thrillseekers far and wide to marvel at the majestic beast. The gift shop always sold t-shirts saying "I SURVIVED JORMUGANDR," but the gift shop won't be able to survive LeBron James.
And LeBron killed a one-of-a-kind animal, the likes of which the world has never seen. Sure, this magical monster killed thousands over the centuries, but when it came down to it, it was just an organism trying to see tomorrow. Who are we to blame it for breathing fire and feasting on children? That's just its nature.
Sure, LeBron, good job. You slayed the beast, creating a photo op that Nike and Powerade and Samsung and all your other sponsors will use for as many centuries as it haunts this village.
But maybe next time you should think about who gets hurt when you get to be the big star.