Exactly four years after LeBron James made his infamous “decision” to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, the possibility of James returning home to Ohio could not be greater. Due to a lack of both communication with fellow teammates and free agents Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade and free agency success for Miami so far this summer, the speculation of James potentially leaving South Beach has grown by the day. Many teams are interested in James’ services, but he may choose Cleveland for the exact same reason he chose to leave back in 2010: talent.
James’ primary reasons for electing to be a free agent this summer were to allow Miami to improve the supporting cast and keep all of his options open. So far, Miami has not been able to do so and James cannot be thrilled. Danny Granger is a solid perimeter defender, but his best days are gone and, in my opinion, does not make the Heat any better than Miami was this season. Josh McRoberts is a good fit in Miami if James, Bosh, and Wade all return, but after that there is not much else to say.
Hence why we turn our attention to Cleveland, who many believe have caught James’ attention in recent days. James left Cleveland in 2010 because of a lack of talent that could help him win a championship. Now, the Cavaliers may have some of the most promising talent in the NBA to help James get his third championship. All-Star Kyrie Irving is one of the best point guards in the league and just recently signed a max-contract with Cleveland, which would indicate to James that Irving has confidence in Cleveland’s front office. The Cavaliers used the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft on Andrew Wiggins, who might be the most-hyped player to enter the NBA since James. Not to mention, James’ pal Anderson Varejao still roams the paint for the Cavaliers.
Yes, Cavaliers’ new head coach David Blatt is a rather unknown commodity unless one follows international basketball closely, but he is a proven winner. James gave Erik Spoelstra a chance as head coach when James joined the Heat in 2010; don’t be surprised if he gave a championship-coach in Blatt an opportunity.
James would immediately improve the Cavaliers on the defensive end of the floor. Cleveland has plenty of offensive weapons; it’s on defense where James can be the difference-maker on this squad. In addition, James would serve as not only a leader on and off the floor but also a role model to the younger players. As a rising star in the league, Irving would learn a lot from playing alongside James. James would also help Wiggins develop into a star, especially on the offensive end where Wiggins needs to improve most. Most importantly, James would be able to understand the pressures both players face at such a young age to have to carry a franchise.
Because the Eastern Conference is so weak and their talent is ripe, the Cavaliers would most likely become contenders again if James was to return.
If the Cavaliers can move a few contracts off the books, signing the star to the max-contract he desires is very possible. An even more-intriguing scenario would be if Cleveland can move enough money off the payroll that the Cavaliers could bring in another superstar to help LeBron. The first player who comes to mind is All-Star Kevin Love, who has indicated he would sign long-term with the Cavaliers if James returned to Cleveland. A trio of James, Irving, and Love would be scary to say the least.
If James returns to Cleveland, there will have to be some serious reconciliation and forgiveness for how things ended between him, the Cavaliers, and the fans back in 2010. They all may need to embrace and apologize to each other in order to move on.
I still believe that if everything gets worked out, James will return to Miami next season. However, the longer it takes him to re-sign with Miami, the more rumors that will grow. Do not count out the Cavaliers. We may see the Cavaliers as just any other NBA team, but LeBron James sees them as something we can all relate to — home. When home calls, it is hard to say no.