Let’s make one thing clear: The most important part of the Cavaliers-Heat game on Wednesday is the basketball on the court. And any talk of LeBron James returning to Cleveland is a waste of our time and energy.
For starters, the Cavs (and the entire fan base) have enough to worry about without focusing on a player who can’t even be a free agent until July, which is SEVEN months away. As of now, the Cavaliers are a 4-10 team that hasn’t come together like many expected. Kyrie Irving isn’t playing like himself. There have been serious talks about fighting and team chemistry. The offense looks stagnant and unproductive. And that’s just the tip of the Cavaliers problem iceberg.
And if you think the best basketball player in the world is going to leave the Miami Heat (located in a city in state with no individual income tax, mind you) for a team coached by a man he’s already clashed with (and who was partially fired to appease James) and is loaded with unproven talent, I’m going to have to disagree with you.
About the only attractive pieces the Cavaliers have that could possibly interest James to make his return are Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Andrew Bynum. The latter player – as it is well documented – has a long history of knee injuries that have taken away a large part of the spring in his step. Thompson, a personal friend of James, is still raw at this point and the jury’s still out if he can be a piece on a contender. As for Irving, he’s undeniably special, but it’s highly doubtful he’s enough to draw James back to the shores of Lake Erie.
After all, if you were LeBron James, who would you rather play with: Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and a plethora of accomplished veterans who are killing it from the perimeter or Irving, the corpse of Bynum, some intriguing (but unproven) young talent and some middling veterans. I think the answer here is obvious.
Did I mention that LeBron – if he so decides to opt of his contract – cannot enter free agency until July? Between now and then, it’s against league rules for the Cavaliers to talk about signing or trying to sign a player under contract to another team, which it just so happens James is.
I’m no naïve – Dan Gilbert, Chris Grant and entire front office is already planning for free agency and I’m sure LeBron is a main subject of those talks. They are going to be one of the few teams with enough cap space to make a run at James. They are closet team to his hometown of Akron.
I’m also not naïve to the fact that there are Cleveland fans out there who want nothing more than for James to come back and play for the Wine & Gold. And I get that – I really do. But again, he’ll be a free agent in July. So much can happen between now and then, and what happens between now and then will undeniably impact LeBron’s decision.
For one, if the Miami Heat are able to three-peat, he will stay in South Beach no doubt. And barring any sort of major collapse, the situation in Miami is probably going to be more appealing than Cleveland.
That’s why this is the last “LeBron to Cleveland” piece I’ll be writing until he opts out of his contract and enters free agency. Until then it’s all wild speculation that has no real meaning. When July arrives and he can then actually sign a contract to rejoin the Cavaliers, then I’ll talk about the possibility of it happening.
It is entirely possible that James becomes a Cavalier again; I get that. But we are seven full months, two seasons and one NBA Finals away from that even possibly happening. I’ll gladly write up the news release when and if it happens.
But until then, I’ll leave the speculation to everyone else. I’ll leave it to the ESPN Countdown Crew that will absolutely talk about LeBron possible returning to Cleveland ad nauseam. I’ll leave it the Cavalier fans who founded comehomelebron.com and who are giving out free “Come Home LeBron” t-shirts and putting up a billboard near his home. I’ll leave it to those fools.
Simply put, there is no point in talking about LeBron James outside of what he does on the court. What he and the current Cavaliers do on the court is all really all that matters – until July.