By Jarrod Patterson @J_M_Patterson on July 13, 2014
The Prodigal Son has returned as the biggest question in NBA free agency is now answered. Four-time MVP LeBron James signed a two-year $ 42.2 million deal with the Cavaliers, bringing the Ohio-native home once again. While King James has expressed his desire to now retire in Cleveland, no one ever thought he'd leave in the first place. Two Miami championships later, fans think differently. Here are five reasons why James shouldn't retire a Cav.
When James last played for Cleveland, the rival Pacers were a terrible team. They finished the 2009-10 regular season an astounding 29 games behind the LeBron-led Cavs. Now, the times have changed and so have the Pacers. In fact, James should know this better than most. Indiana gave the former Big 3 in Miami all they could handle in the 2014 playoffs, nearly defeating them. Cleveland will have a ways to go, despite having some solid young talent.
When James left Cleveland originally, it was to form what has become known as the Big 3 along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. The thought process was that they would form a dynamic trio capable of dominating the NBA and allowing each of them to ultimately win rings. Obviously, this worked; twice. Now Cleveland fans will expect similar results from LeBron and his Cavs. Anything less than two championships will be viewed as failure.
First, LeBron left once -- he could do it again. Not just that, but he signed a contract that practically encourages him to leave, and relatively soon. Conspiracy theorists may even say it looks as though LeBron is recruiting talent with a possible exodus from Cleveland in mind. Additionally, LeBron isn't forgetting the public letter Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wrote, bitterly calling James the "self-titled former King" and claiming he was "cursed."
NBA fans should not forget what led to the hour-long public debacle now referred to as "The Decision." Year after year, James had to watch as Cleveland refused to spend any significant money in free agency, failing to place All-Star-caliber pieces around him. Not to take anything away from guys like Anderson Varejao or Zydrunas Ilgauskas, but Cleveland has always had a "small-market" mentality. It remains to be seen if that has changed.
NBA fans have an amazing memory when it comes to heartache. Cleveland, Ohio never even fully recovered from the first loss of LeBron, and suddenly he reappears as though risen from the dead. Immediately, Cavs fans regretted the cult-like burning of thousands of No. 23 jerseys in a city-wide fit of rage. However, does James really think all will just be forgiven? He left in his prime and returned not quite as title-hungry. Fans don't forget.
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