PORTLAND – This week the basketball world was dedicated to LeBron James. Along with everyone else, Portland sports fans anticipated whether he would re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers or go elsewhere.

Brandon Vermette, a manager trainee at Olympia Sports on Congress Street, watched the announcement on ESPN and thought James knew where he wanted to go all along.

“He wanted more coverage,” Vermette said. “He should have stayed in Cleveland. This hurts the team because (Dwyane Wade) and (Chris) Bosh need a role but LeBron wants to score 40 points a game.”

Although Vermette thinks James might hurt the Heat with a bad attitude, he still sees the team winning two or three championships.

“It could work out but it will take a few years for the first championship,” he said.

Vermette also thinks it’s a problem that players are too involved with money.

“The biggest thing this week was where LeBron would go. There are bigger issues in the news,” he said.

Riley Smith, a Philadelphia native on vacation in the Portland area, tuned into ESPN for 15 minutes Thursday to hear James’ decision. Although Smith doesn’t see anything wrong with it, he does have his doubts.

“(James) played in Cleveland long enough. He wanted a ring and he couldn’t get it. Why not join the Heat?” Smith said.

The addition of James to the Heat creates the second Big Three in the NBA, with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics.

“I think the Heat Big Three James, Wade and Bosh) is way better. I think they will win two titles,” Smith said. “But I don’t know if all three stars can play well enough together.”

Ryan Goodrich of Cape Elizabeth isn’t a huge NBA fan but jumped on the bandwagon when the Celtics won the title in 2008. Goodrich didn’t watch much of the announcement but does have thoughts on the future of the Heat.

“I think they will win one title to start but if they can’t win more with that lineup, they should just quit,” Goodrich said.

Goodrich also noted that the Heat are younger than the experienced Celtics.

“The Celtics’ Big Three is more old-school, which is great But LeBron is still young and has more to bring.”

Ben O’Connell of Portland isn’t an avid basketball fan and was unaware of James’ decision.

“I follow it a little bit. Not a lot. I follow the Celtics when they are in the playoffs,” O’Connell said.

Asked if he was one of the millions who tuned into James’ decision, he said, “No. Where is he going?”

Told that James will join the Heat with Bosh and Wade, O’Connell pondered the outcome. “I wonder if they can work together like the Celtics do,” he said. “LeBron has a good attitude so they could potentially be awesome.”

Staff Writer Austin Pollack can be contacted at 791-6384 or at:

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