Dec 23, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) drives to the basket as Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) defends during the second half at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 121-119 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Now That LeBron James Has Decided To Return To Cleveland, Free Agency Can Really Begin For The Atlanta Hawks

Finally.

After 10 days of waiting for the world’s most watched athlete to decide on what team he will play for, LeBron James has decided.

In case you haven’t heard, LeBron is going back home to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now that he has decided, the free agent market is about to get really hectic.

It wasn’t just fans that were waiting for his decision to be made, NBA front offices were at a standstill while James held the world (mostly twitter) hostage. No one wanted to make any major moves because they were not only holding out hope that James might take his talents to their respective franchise, but no other second tier free agent would commit to signing until all teams were willing to spend.

Guys like Trevor Ariza, Luol Deng, Eric Bledsoe, Greg Monroe, Pau Gasol, and Isiah Thomas were considered the best of the rest, and were a lot of teams’ Plan B.

The Hawks could potentially have between $11 million and $14 million to spend (depending on how the Thabo Sefolosha signing is officially done), so they are potential players in the second tier market. They have already been linked to Monroe, Ariza, Deng, Gasol, and Kent Bazemore, so you can expect an announcement on some kind of signing soon.

LeBron’s decision means it’s time for the Hawks to be aggressive and really get busy, as other teams are raring to spend as well. This decision doesn’t just have ramifications on free agency for Atlanta, but it also changes some regular season festivities as well:

  • LeBron will not be wearing a Hawks uniform next season. Sorry to those who really thought that was going to happen, but it was never a possibility.
  • The Hawks should be considered as a favorite to win the South East Division, although Charlotte and Washington may have something to say about it.
  • When the Heat come to town, the arena will not be filled with Heat jerseys any longer, and here’s hoping all 41 home games will be filled with fans wearing Hawks jerseys.
  • The East is certainly a toss-up with LeBron moving, and the Hawks could be battling for a top four seed next season.

LeBron has decided. Let the games begin.

***You can keep up with all the Hawks’ free agency news and rumors right here.

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