LeBron James Is Back Home…Time To Re-Witness

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    Updated: July 11, 2014
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    Let me preface this piece by saying I am not a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. I have never rooted for them and I have my own basketball fandom. That being said, I could not be happier for that city, the Cavaliers fan base, and LeBron James. LeBron James is returning to the state of Ohio that he loves, and to the team that drafted him into the NBA. There are a lot of layers to go through to make sense of what we are witnessing and what we could be witnessing. But the Cavaliers may be on the verge of something great.


    Time Heals All Wounds


    After spending years in Cleveland with the Cavaliers and fighting for the opportunity to win championships, no free agents wanted to come to Cleveland and LeBron had his sights set on achieving greatness. He felt he couldn’t accomplish that with the Cavaliers so he decided he had to go to a different team to grow into the player he is now. Looking back at the summer of 2010 it’s hard not to wonder how so many intelligent people made so many poor decisions in the wake of LeBron James’ free agency. First came the “Decision” Special. The idea behind the special seemed cool at the time to LeBron and his camp I am sure of it. He was helping children by bringing attention to a cause that helped them, while drumming up publicity for his own brand. Leading up to the “Decision” I thought the entire performance and fiasco was a terrible idea, but I am not in LeBron’s circle and it was obvious his brain trust felt it was brilliant.

    Finally the night of the Decision happened on ESPN and LeBron uttered the now infamous words, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach,” and mayhem ensued all over Ohio. People were burning jerseys, cursing LeBron’s name, I saw death threats and hexes and voodoo and any sort of witchcraft you can imagine geared towards LeBron. I figured after some time the people of Cleveland would get over it. That was until mistake number two was made, this time it was by Dan Gilbert. Gilbert sticking up for his city and organization decided to fire off an amazingly idiotic letter attacking LeBron for his decision to go to Miami and leaving the city’s hope of success dashed. The letter was disgusting, and as stupid an idea from a man in the position of power as the sports world had ever seen.

    This was how Gilbert repaid a man who made is franchise relevant for years? Classless. Bron left, Gilbert went on doing what he did in Cleveland and four years passed. After four years of success on the court the Miami Heat lost in their 4th straight NBA Finals appearance. No one knew what this meant for LeBron but the Heat were still confident they would keep LeBron and continue reaching NBA Finals. But then another contender for foot in mouth syndrome came in the form of Pat Riley. Pat Riley has been the architect of every championship that has come to the city of Miami and when he speaks, people listen. After the 2014 Finals loss Riley held a press conference that seemed to be a great idea at the time. But the entire press conference seemed to be directed at LeBron and was seemingly telling LeBron to do what was best and re-sign with Miami. Riley said players needed to “have guts” and not “run away from challenges.” Those quotes were obviously made for LeBron and Riley thought that by challenging him, that would make him want to accept the challenge of more years in Miami.

    That gamble backfired horribly. At the time when I watched the press conference I thought Riley had went off the deep-end challenging Bron like that. Bron didn’t owe Pat Riley and Miami anything. And from what’s been reported the LeBron James camp did not appreciate that press conference at all. Just like Dan Gilbert called LeBron’s bluff before and didn’t think LeBron would leave, Pat Riley made the same mistake. I am sure the Riley presser was not the end all be all, but it certainly did not help in keeping Miami’s star player. Again other behind the scenes factors and the current state of the Miami Heat roster were major factors, but that press conference certainly did the Heat and Pat Riley no favors.

    As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports in this piece, Dan Gilbert and LeBron James spoke for hours last week in Miami and aired out all their differences and made this work. I’m glad they let bygones be bygones and moved past their difference for the good of Ohio. No one will ever forget Gilbert’s idiotic letter, and no one will ever forget the poor choice of doing the “Decision” by LeBron. But they were big enough to get past it and now it’s time for step two of the plan, operation assault on the Eastern Conference.


    Unlimited Possibilities In Cleveland This Time Around


    In his letter on Sports Illustrated letting the world know he was coming back home to Cleveland, LeBron tried to calm Cleveland expectations of a championship by saying from the outset that Cavaliers are not ready to fight for a title. He’s right. The current team is fun to think about with all the young pieces, but they are in no position to compete with the beasts in the Western Conference. But, what happens if the Cavs make some real moves and get 3-4 really good players around LeBron and Kyrie Irving? Kevin Love is a name that automatically comes to mind. There’s a good chance in order to get Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Wolves will want Andrew Wiggins included. It’s even been said that the Cavaliers has two things in mind when they picked Wiggins number 1 in the 2014 NBA Draft.

    First, he would have been great for the Cavaliers if he grew with the franchise, but the Cavs also knew the Timberwolves were high on him and drafted him with this trade possibly in mind. Great thinking by the Cavaliers who could have drafted Jabari Parker instead but didn’t. Andrew Wiggins may grow to be an amazing player, but Kevin Love is already a very good basketball player with NBA experience and big-time numbers. Last season Love averaged 26 points and 13 rebounds per game. And that was being the main option in Minnesota in the difficult Western Conference.

    Courtesy of complex.com

    If the Cavs can add Love to a line up including James and Kyrie Irving, and possibly Anderson Verajo, then the Cavs have something special. Two seasons ago Verajo averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds on a poor Cavaliers team. This will be a team packed with stars. Bron never had any players in Miami that had the rebounding and post abilities that Love and Verajo have. It’s been rumored the Cavs have already reached out to Minn. about a trade for Love that did not include Andrew Wiggins. If the Cavs can pull off any trade for Love that does not include Wiggins, then the Cavs will have pulled off the best summer of basketball business since the Miami Heat formation of the Big 3 in 2010. But even if the Cavs are able to have a Big 3 of Love, Kyrie and LeBron, the team needs more help.

    Enter Mike Miller and Ray Allen. Shooters are necessary in the post season. Shooters always surrounded LeBron during his tenure with Miami and he will need the same in Cleveland. There’s already talk that Cavaliers have reached out to both Mike Miller and Ray Allen and adding them to the line-up would be the veteran bench presence they need to succeed. Surely the Cavs will add other players and things will start to shape up around LeBron. The Cavaliers put themselves in a great position right now with cap space and young assets to get help around LeBron.

    This up-coming NBA season is going to be a lot of fun, and this NBA Free Agency has been great. But the story for right now is King James returning back to Ohio to help his state win their first championship in 50 years in any professional sport. This a great story for basketball fans that didn’t have a stake in this decision by LeBron. I’m happy for Cleveland and all eyes will be on them once the 2014 NBA season starts. But this won’t be like in 2010 when everyone wanted to watch LeBron lose with the Miami Heat. Now I genuinely think people want to see LeBron win at least one more and this time by winning it for the Cavaliers. Feel good stories are so few and far between in sports, and I can genuinely say as a basketball fan this is a really cool thing that happened today. LeBron is back home, and things just got that more exciting in the NBA. Sports, gotta love em.

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