Do me a favor and not make a team decision before I post this, okay?
I guess The Decision wasn’t fun enough, because LeBron James has the NBA (and pretty much the overall) sports pulse by the throat as he “decides” which team he will sign with. Now, since he is, in fact, a free agent, all of the things that have happened thus far (the alleged agent meetings, the face to face with Pat Riley) are definitely things that he can do.
But who cares about that? He has to go back to Cleveland! He can’t bolt from Miami after being challenged by Riles, can he? I’ve seen a LOT of opinions on what/how/why/when/if this or that will happen. I think I’ve nailed down eight different thoughts on LeBron, and this NBA offseason as a whole.
1. When LeBron left for Miami in 2010, the reasoning was that Cleveland was not built to win a title. Um, has that changed? The Cavs have gone through at least three coaches and two general managers since 2010. They have been a lottery team four years in a row, getting the #1 pick THREE TIMES. Why would LeBron want to put all his eggs in that basket? Kyrie Irving has been really good. Everyone else on the Cavs? Uhhhhh…
2. I can get behind the fact that Wade has fallen off a cliff. I also get that the Heat may not be better than the Spurs, Thunder and (MAYBE) the Clippers. But, as of the end of the season, Miami was the best in the East by a whole lot. In sports, all it takes is being in the mix (for championships). As long as you’re in the mix, anything can happen. The Heat will be in the mix with LeBron, Wade and Bosh.
3. How come no team is courting Dwyane Wade? Hahaha, no, really. I know that he’s got to change his game (a WHOLE lot) to be worth any team’s investment at this point. But, hey, that’s definitely possible.
4. I’m not sure if I trust Pat Riley’s ability to construct a team. Let’s recap the major Riles moves since, say, 2005:
-Traded for Shaq, who was going to be moved anyway
-Put Stan van Gundy into hiding and “led” the Heat to the title in 2006
-Left the sideline once Wade got hurt to pretend scout new players do, um, I dunno (Okay, that led to Spolestra taking the reins, which has worked out quite well)
-Convinced LeBron to stop wearing #23 (that was actually pretty ballsy)
-Signed LeBron and Bosh to join Wade
-Said he was “pissed” at the way this season ended, as if four straight trips to the Finals didn’t happen
-Said lots of old man things about sticking together, even though he bolted the Knicks for the Heat twenty years earlier (Editor’s Note: VIA FAX)
-Bolstered the roster by signing…Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts (the latter puts the team at something called a salary apron, which is something that is too far above my pay grade to explain)
-Tried to get guys like Luol Deng and Pau Gasol on the cheap because why not?
Does that sound like a guy who can “build” a winner? I’m not so sure.
5. LeBron and Wade are friends. Wade is taking less money by opting out. Would a friend (LeBron) just then bolt?
6. Did you know that Dirk Nowitzki re-signed with Dallas? Did you know he was a free agent? I don’t think Dallas is going to be a contender, but it’s good to know that Dirk will still be around to do those one-legged fade away jumpers (which are kind of hard).
7. I think the most fascinating aspect of this LeBron chase has been the about face that Cleveland fans have done. Remember the jersey burning, the extremely petty letter from Dan Gilbert? Water under the bridge! Of course, there was a weird/scary sense of ownership from Cavs fans about LeBron, but that’s a story for another day. Now, this is contingent on LeBron actually signing with Cleveland. If that doesn’t happen? Watch. Out.
8. What do I think will happen? I can’t really see the Cleveland angle. Good sports things don’t happen to/in that city. I can see LeBron leaving Miami to go west. Why not? He’s done about as much as you could possibly do (NBA wise) in Miami. The challenge would come in going west. Phoenix. Golden State (I bet the Warriors would have noooo problem trading Klay Thompson should they land LeBron). Both of those teams would be better than Cleveland or Miami. But hey, that’s just my guess.