Before Cleveland begins throwing a victory parade in honor of his royal highness, King James, there is still that 5-10 percent chance he could change his mind.
But if Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com is 100 percent right on his 90 percent reporting that LeBron James will be returning to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers, then the Cavaliers just won the lottery for a fourth time (LeBron in 2003, once with Kyrie Irving in 2011, and this year with Andrew Wiggins and LeBron again).
The four-time NBA MVP hinted he wanted to to stay with the Heat, but returning to the Cavaliers has always been on his mind since he left in 2010. The much maligned Decision 2010 is a part of his legacy that he’d like to correct, and going back to the Cavaliers will definitely wipe the slate clean.
This is not the summer of 2010. LeBron is at a different place now in his life. He’s married. He’s got kids. He’s got two championship rings. Life is good for King James.
”I just want to win. That’s all that matters to me,” James said after emerging from the final Miami Heat team meeting.
”I feel more at ease this time,” James said, adding that ”2010, it was out of control. It was the craziest summer I’ve ever been a part of. … I’m definitely in a better place right now even though in 2010 I got put out in the postseason earlier than I expected or didn’t accomplish what I wanted to, and I have kind of the same feeling now.”
Ohio is home to LeBron, and it sounds like, feels like, looks like he is ready to come home.
Sheridan’s story was posted on July 9 and it got more than 10,000 retweets and more than 2,300 favorites. The post read: LeBron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a source tells Sheridanhoops.com. @kingjames #LeBronToClev
Immediately, Cleveland media and fans went bonkers.
What added fuel to fire was the move made by the Cavaliers. They traded point guard Jarrett Jack and got nearly nothing in return, clearing serious cap space.
Outside of The Decision in 2010, James has made sound decisions when it comes to his career on and off the court. He inked huge commercial deals with Samsung, Beats, Nike, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. He ranks No. 2 on Forbes’ list of highest-earning athletes-entertainers behind only Beyonce. Money won’t be the driving force behind this latest decision for LeBron.
The only thing that matters to LeBron is winning, and the road to the NBA Finals is much easier in the Eastern Conference than the Western Conference. If there is a team that can pull LeBron away from Miami, it’s Cleveland.
Since signing with the Heat, LeBron’s seasons have ended in the NBA Finals. Only Bill Russell’s Celtics, Magic Johnson’s Lakers and Larry Bird’s Celtics have made four straight trips to The Finals. Michael Jordan never did that.
This season, the Spurs were the better team. The Heat simply reached its maximum level and couldn’t shift to fifth gear when Erik Spoelstra stepped on the gas pedal.
No team and no player have logged more minutes in the past four seasons than LeBron and Co. But no team and no player have enjoyed more success than LeBron and Co. in the last four seasons.
But a declining Wade and an aging roster has made LeBron rethink his Miami status. He can no longer count on Wade as his Robin. Wade has become more like Alfred The Butler. Bosh is still in his prime but would like to return to his old position at power forward. He has a massive offer on the table from Houston, and once James bolts for Cleveland Bosh will be penning his signature on the Houston deal.
When Spoelstra was asked why James, Wade and Bosh should all stay the course in Miami, he pointed to the Heat’s solid foundation.
”We have a great track record,” Spoelstra said. “And we have a championship, first-class organization. That is our best selling pitch.”
James said he didn’t need to hear what Miami has to offer. He already knows.
”I understand what this team and this franchise brings to the table,” James said. ”That’s what Riles is so great at and obviously Spo’s going to get into it and see guys who can help us get better.
“Every team in the NBA continues to get better every year and we need to get better as well. We have some holes that need to be filled.”
That doesn’t sound like a guy who is ready to take his talents elsewhere. But he has every right to change his mind.