5 dominoes that could fall once LeBron James signs

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LeBron James is reportedly deciding between returning to the Miami Heat and returning home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. We have to believe that a decision - not the decision - will come in the very near future.

Until then, the rest of the NBA free agents and potential trade chips have been kept in limbo. Players have talked with prospective teams, they even have deals in place, but nothing will become imminent until James picks a team.

Among the biggest dominos that could fall once James signs are Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Pau Gasol, Kevin Love and Lance Stephenson. Here's what may transpire for the rest of the top free agents:

1. Carmelo Anthony

Anthony is reportedly waiting to sign with either the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Knicks until James makes a decision, holding out hope the two can unite in either Miami or New York.

If James returns to the Heat, 'Melo could potentially join up - depending on Bosh's decision - but only at a reduced rate, which in all likelihood is not what Anthony wants to do.

I believe Anthony returns to New York once a chance to team up with 'Bron becomes an unrealistic possibility. He's more comfortable with the Knicks and should have confidence Phil Jackson will surround him with a quality roster.

2. Chris Bosh

Bosh is holding onto a four-year, max deal from the Houston Rockets, and if James decides to return to Cleveland Bosh should quickly pull the trigger and sign that contract.

Bosh has given up the most to play alongside James. Not only did he accept less money to join the Heat, but he changed his entire game - becoming almost solely a 3-point shooter - to fit into the offense.

With the Rockets, he can be a true power forward - shooting jumpers, 3s and driving to the rim - with Dwight Howard being a true center. Houston's Big Three is rounded out by James Harden, one of the NBA's elite scorers.

3. Pau Gasol

Gasol's decision may actually depend on Anthony's, which will depend on what James does.

Gasol is reportedly mulling offers from Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Oklahoma City and San Antonio. OKC may be a long-shot, and if Miami starts to deconstruct it's likely out of the picture. That leaves New York, Los Angeles and San Antonio are the top three options.

At 34, Gasol could finish out his contract where he won two championships in L.A. Or he could try and chase a ring alongside 'Melo in New York, where a familiar face in Jackson is now running the show. The Spurs offer a chance to be a role player on a championship-caliber club right away.

I know he wants to play with 'Melo, but if the Lakers strike out on him they have to retain Gasol.

4. Kevin Love

No he isn't a free agent, but he's been mentioned in a handful of different trade scenarios - most noticeably to the Golden State Warriors - but could be in high demand once teams whiff in free agency.

One such team to keep an eye on: the Chicago Bulls.

If the Bulls miss out on Anthony, what have they done to truly improve this summer? They weren't willing to give up more than Taj Gibson, Tony Snell and two draft picks to acquire Love, but should be open to giving up whatever the Minnesota Timberwolves so desire this time around.

If the Warriors are still unwilling to part ways with Klay Thompson, the Bulls should take advantage and increase the ante.

5. Lance Stephenson

Many teams are considering Stephenson as a Plan B if they can't land James or Anthony. Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston, as well as the Indiana Pacers are all in the mix for him.

As of July 9, I'd continue to believe Indiana is the favorite. Dallas knows it's largely out of contention for James, so if they truly wanted him they'd make him an offer he couldn't refuse. The Lakers are hung up on Anthony, but they might be better off waiting for Kevin Durant's free agent year than overpaying Stephenson.

As for Boston - it makes a lot of sense - and if they can't deal for Love they could increase their attention to Stephenson. I'm still confident the Pacers find a way to bring him back, though.

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5 dominoes that could fall once LeBron James signs
AKRON, OH - AUGUST 08: LeBron James waves to his fans in the city of Akron after taking the stage during his Welcome Home Ceremony at Infocision Stadium at the University of Akron on August 8, 2014 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - AUGUST 08: LeBron James speaks to his fans in the city of Akron after taking the stage during his Welcome Home Ceremony at Infocision Stadium at the University of Akron on August 8, 2014 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - AUGUST 08: LeBron James speaks during a press conference at The University of Akron before the kickoff of his welcome ceremony at InfoCison Stadium at The University of Akron on August 8, 2014 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - AUGUST 08: LeBron James speaks during a press conference at The University of Akron before the kickoff of his welcome ceremony at InfoCison Stadium at The University of Akron on August 8, 2014 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - AUGUST 08: LeBron James speaks to his fans in the city of Akron after taking the stage during his Welcome Home Ceremony at Infocision Stadium at the University of Akron on August 8, 2014 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
Miami Heat's LeBron James talks with the media during a press conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena on June 17, 2014, in Miami. (Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat keeps the ball away from Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs in Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat comes on the court after a timeout as his team plays the San Antonio Spurs in Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts on the bench against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Miami Heat's LeBron James talks with the media during a press conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena on June 17, 2014, in Miami. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat shoots the ball against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat shoots against Boris Diaw #33 of the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Andrew D Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives against Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12: Boris Diaw #33 of the San Antonio Spurs controls the ball against LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat during Game Four of the 2014 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2014 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat controls the ball as Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs defends during Game Four of the 2014 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots over LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat during Game Four of the 2014 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida on June 12, 2014. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 10: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat shoots against Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs during Game Three of the 2014 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida on June 10, 2014.  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 10: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Three of the 2014 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 10, 2014 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 05: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat sits on the bench after leaving the game in the fourth quarter with cramps against the San Antonio Spurs during Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 05: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat sits on the bench after leaving the game in the fourth quarter with cramps against the San Antonio Spurs during Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 05: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat sits on the bench after leaving the game in the fourth quarter with cramps against the San Antonio Spurs during Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LeBron James #6, Mario Chalmers #15 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat return to the court against the San Antonio Spurs during Game 5 of the NBA Finals on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio,Texas. The Spurs defeat the Miami Heat 107-84 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to win the NBA Finals Championship, June 15, 2014 in San Antonio,Texas. The Spurs won the best of seven series 4-1. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs embrace after the San Antonio Spurs victory in Game Five and winning the 2014 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Andrew D Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat speak to the media following a 104-87 loss in Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
Chris Bosh, LeBron James and other members of the Miami Heat watch from the bench during the fourt quarter of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, June 15, 2014 in San Antonio,Texas. The Spurs defeat the Miami Heat 107-84 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to win the best of seven series 4-1. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck 
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives into Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs in Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat defends Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs in Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - AUGUST 08: LeBron James speaks to his fans in the city of Akron after taking the stage during his Welcome Home Ceremony at Infocision Stadium at the University of Akron on August 8, 2014 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
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