2014 Free Agency, NBA / Jul 7, 2014 / 8:45 pm

LeBron’s Second Decision, And The Danger For Cleveland Fans

LeBron James

LeBron James (David Richard- USA TODAY Sports)

It wasn’t supposed have the same circus atmosphere this time around. Not after what happened in 2010, with The Decision, the Miami welcome celebration after, and the eventual fallout. Nonetheless, here we are again in 2014, LeBron James has yet to re-sign with the Heat, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are in play.

Last night, the LeBron to Cleveland rumors hit overdrive. With everyone searching for Dan Gilbert‘s plane, and his agent apparently pushing the Cavs to open up cap space to accommodate LeBron should he choose to return, there is enough out there to lend credence to the fact LeBron is considering a return home.

For the longest time, I’ve avoided discussing the LeBron-to-Cleveland scenario because it always seemed far-fetched, more wishful thinking than anything rooted in reality. Now there are signs, whispers, and possibilities. The scathing letter Gilbert wrote about his franchise player bolted to Miami is no longer on the team’s official site. A meeting between Gilbert and LeBron is not out of the realm of possibility.

All of these things are true, but there’s also danger for Cleveland fans here, the same fans who were heartbroken in 2010 when their hometown star went on national television and embarrassed them. The truth is, with Pat Riley seemingly unable to make the roster upgrades necessary to convince LeBron to return, the King is considering his options. One of them is Cleveland. They have Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins for the long-term, and any team adding LeBron, especially in the Eastern Conference, immediately vaults to the very top.

For Cleveland fans, it’s possible only the conclusion to this whole thing matters. That LeBron is considering them is not enough. The mindset is almost either: he’s coming home or he’s betrayed us once again. It’s not the right mindset to have. There’s a middle here. LeBron is, like any other free agent, considering his options. That Cleveland has presented itself makes it a bit complicated in this case. The fact that LeBron is the best player in the world still at the height of his powers raises the stakes even higher.

Of course, in the world of day-to-day media reporting, it’s very easy to believe the last thing you’ve read. In the past 24 hours, it seems all signs are pointing LeBron to Cleveland. This is, of course, not the case. If you need a Miami perspective, read this piece from Dan Le Batard. It outlines the confidence Heat management has of the situation. It gives a measured take to the situation.

The decision is not just going to impact LeBron. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade has been waiting idly as well despite very different situations. Wade opted out of his contract and left approximately $40 million over two years on the table. Given his long-standing relationship with Riley and the Heat franchise, with or without LeBron, it’s hard to envision him not getting a long-term deal with the Heat.

Of course, there’s this:

We know LeBron wants the max, with Wade and Bosh taking a bit of a pay-cut to leave room for upgrades. With this current collective bargaining agreement, it’s very difficult to build around a max player and two near-max players, and — on top of it — have that max player demand significant roster upgrades around him.

Riley has scoured the market in the past week but the only commitment he’s secured is from Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger. The Heat will upgrade at the fringes, but if LeBron decides to return, he’s doing so because he believes he can win another title with Wade and Bosh.

In the Heat, LeBron can see success in the present. In the Cavs, he can see a return home and a possibility to win now and in the future. With all the information leaking out, some have asked LeBron to address the rumors:

Except it’s not that simple. LeBron is in the middle of a decision-making process, and if that process includes Cleveland, he could end up not choosing them. It would be okay. Of course, I sit here and say that, knowing full well things have already gone too far down the road of speculation; a return to Miami would be another crushing blow for the city of Cleveland.

For Cavaliers fans, if LeBron does choose to return to Miami instead, don’t let the media noise of the past few days turn your expectations into bitterness or vile towards LeBron. Consider the roster moves that have been made in the past four seasons, the draft picks that could have panned out, and so forth.

If LeBron feels like the best basketball decision for him is to return to Cleveland, he will do so. There’s a chance he might. There’s a chance that’s true. If he doesn’t, and he decides to return and make another run with the Big Three, it’s not an indictment on the city or the fans, but a matter of which basketball team has the most talent to help the best player in the world win another title next year.

What do you think?

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  • Bob Fusky

    Unfortunately, I think the Cavs fans are working themselves into a frenzy for no reason. There really has been nothing to get excited about except speculation. LeBron is most likely 95% headed back to Miami with the rest of the Big 3. The SH blog has an interesting point of view of the LeBron free agency, def worth a read: http://straighthoops.com/sorry_youre_not_getting_lebron.html

  • mrmarcus05

    As a Cleveland fan, I don’t think it’s betrayal if he doesn’t sign with us. Lebron is the greatest in the NBA so I won’t kid anyone by saying he’s not welcomed back. However, things are looking better with or without him. We have Kyrie for long term, drafted Wiggins, and a solid new coach. Things are definitely looking promising for the first time in 4 years..

  • Ashley

    For me it’s not, yay! he’s home! or oh, betrayed once again. Betrayed once was enough, i don’t want him back.

  • mrmarcus05

    I think Houston has a legit chance at landing Bosh. He’s been treated like the stepchild of the “big 3″ and he’s produced more than Wade the past couple years. He has a couple rings and he’s 30 yrs old so I don’t think it’s out of the question for him to get his payday. Time will tell..

  • SHUKVKU

    Bosh doesnt do shit. He’s inconsistent as hell. Houston can have him. They’re overpaying IMO unless he steps the fuck up.

  • mrmarcus05

    Oh I’m not disputing they he wants too much. I do think Bosh was more productive though. Especially with Wade’s knee issues.

  • Onray

    95% of stats are made up on the spot

  • Raaheim Mitchell

    You’re and idiot for letting something so ignorant and baseless proceed from your mouth!!

  • King Me

    If you think Wade is more important to Miami than Bosh, you must be high. Sometimes you have to overpay to get the talent you want, like Houston is, but the Heat can’t afford to lose him.

  • KingJames4L

    He Left Cause He Had No Help..He Didn’t Betray Us People Always Dog Him Out For Leavin Cleveland But Dont Look At The Fact That He Had NO HELP AT ALL So If He Comes Back Then Hell Yea But If He Doesn’t Then Oh Well

  • KingJames4L

    When Did Lebron Sign A LifeTime Contract With Cleveland? Oh I Thought So No One Can Get Mad If He Trades Or Not Nd If You Do Your Stupid Cause He Doesn’t Care What You Think He’ Bonne Hoop Nd Get Paid Regardless

  • trickyric

    This article is a joke.
    Dan Gilbert crapped in Lebrons mouth with his plantation owner style rant. He is never going back to Cleveland as long as that man owns the team.
    The big 3 had to opt out to fix the roster with adjusted contracts.
    The only way Lebron was leaving Miami was if DWade didn’t opt out to take a lot less money in a new contract.

  • prodigalphenom

    well said..

  • prodigalphenom

    lol..you got it sir

  • prodigalphenom

    i dont understand why he will become a villian again.melo is on the same path..he still deciding where to go…it’s the cavs mngment’s not lebrons, but after what dan gilbert had said and done.i hope lebron will think twice abt returnin to cavs till there’s a new owner.owner and the management itself doesnt get along.

  • guest

    Open english bb

  • Sweetpea8609

    LeBron betrayed Cleveland by making them wait until the possible moment to tell them a decision he had already made. I knew he would leave because he honestly never wanted to be here in the first place. But we happened to get first round pick that year so we lucked up. What I was mad about was that he left the Cavs with no time to really prepare player wise for the next season. Honestly I think his ego ifs over rated. Pick a team and stick with them. That’s how you really become the greatest! If Melo leave cool, look how long he’s been there with little to no results. He just needs to stop throwing temper tantrums like I little kid. Stop with the divatudes and grow up! You can’t win them all but stick with somebody for the long haul! That’s all I’m saying!

  • Michele MissBoyde Boyde

    Memo is no long time Knick. Hell hr was with Denver and left so stick with a team….right. This is free agency at its best. LeBron may not have went about making his decision to leave the right way but that doesn’t make him a villan. He didn’t ask for a trade mid season. He played 7 yes and had a piece meal of a team so I don’t blame him for leaving. He still would not have a ring had he stayed. Kyrie Irving is hella good but can he stay healthy?

  • cory klein

    I like that most people here know somewhat what they are talking about as opposed to the garbage falling out of peoples mouths on facebook. Heres how they free up money…dont resign Wade. Pat Riley needs to set his personal relationship with Wade and make a smart team decision. Wade is holding us back. Whoever said (the guy a few comments up) Wade is a bigger asset to the team then Bosh needs to wake up and take off the hypebeast mask. Trade Wade will you still can.

  • Sweetpea8609

    Seriously?! 1. Let’s work on spelling and grammar! 2. Let’s be real about this, it MELO how long before he left Denver?! Right! 3. LeBron throws tantrums whenever he gets mad about something. He couldn’t get a “3-peat” like he wanted, threw a tantrum on his team mates, now he’s unsure if he really wants to stay or not. Sound familiar? I think so! Talent or no talent, he’s not dependable. Pretty soon it’s going to get to a point where no one will want him because he will be labeled a “flight risk” team member if he doesn’t get his way.

  • Bradley Randleman

    He had help. What he didn’t have was a coach.

  • Justin Gordon

    100% Agree

  • Mark Justine Tesorero

    im lebron fan and i think they are forming one hell of a team whatever team he decides to go to.
    look if he came back to cavs they’ll have a big 3 of draft players … i mean lebron was drafted by cavs and cavs also have another draft which is a all star player now which is kyrie irving and now they wiggins their recent draft
    i think cavs fans will enjoy the comeback of lebron.

    if he stays at heat wade and bosh will also re-sign to heat forming a big 3 with lebron once more. but i also think that lebron want another teammates that can help him for they lost the recent NBA finals with 4-1 not to mention it is overwhelming victory to spurs

    if he goes to LAC they just plainly win in almost every game. because they have blake,cp3 and jordan.