By Jamari Jordan
We sat in a hostage crisis for over 11 days. Reporters, GMs, teams, and other free agents had their hands tied. Families and friends were gagged, and they were bound to secrecy. Thankfully, there were no casualties, outside of Miami Heat fans. Finally, a King returned to his throne.
The unthinkable happened on Friday July 11, 2014 at 12:23ET. LeBron James returned to Cleveland. For years, we all sat and said he would never go back. He would not go back and play for Dan Gilbert. Four years later, The Letter, The Decision, and The Fallout are so much different for James.
Sometimes we forget how astute our professional athletes are. James’ letter in Sports Illustrated reminded us. He eloquently stated his position. James has always planned to go back to Cleveland in my estimation. I thought it would be in another two years when his Heat contract was set to expire.
However, one opt-out clause ended that. It was in the cards as they say. We heard speculation, but we chose to ignore it. Cleveland was that obsessive ex-girlfriend who always kept tabs on you. But this time, the crazy ex-girlfriend won.
LeBron showed a deep appreciation for the Miami Heat organization, fans, and the city itself. They treated him like family, and they gave him a home. But, James already had that.
This experience was college for James as he said in his letter. Four years away from home, he grew as a man, player, and a legend. Now, he returns back home from school. James has one more thing left to accomplish: win a title for the city of Cleveland.
Can we really fault him for leaving, again? The Miami Heat ran it’s course. Wade’s knees are the ultimate reason why James left. He may love the city of Cleveland, but there is no way he leaves a healthy Wade. Riley has spoke of retiring soon. The team went to four Finals in four years and won two of them. He wouldn’t take a .500 batting average?
While Cleveland may not win this year, they are primed for a bright future. Kyrie Irving is a top-7 point guard in the NBA. Ray Allen and Mike Miller have been linked to joining them. The Cavaliers have two question marks: the coach and Kevin Love.
David Blatt is a first-time NBA coach. He’s been giving a gift and a curse. In his first season, Blatt will coach LeBron James, and with that comes great responsibility. If the team doesn’t produce, it will be all on Blatt, in a similar manner in which Erik Spolestra was vilified in 2010-2011.
Can the Cavs get Kevin Love? James, Irving, and Love are arguably a better big three than James, Wade, and Bosh. The Minnesota Timberwolves have turned down other lucrative trade offers from the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors for Love.
They adamantly have stated that they won’t trade Love to Cleveland in a deal that doesn’t include #1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins. Cleveland doesn’t want to put Wiggins in that deal. Only time will tell who gets their way.
There won’t be any burning jerseys in the city of Miami, but a mural was defaced. James won’t be booed in every arena he plays in. He won’t be voted the most hated player in the NBA. For the first time in four years, outside of Miami, everyone supports the King’s decree.
The NBA has been re-shuffled this offseason, especially out East. It’s wide open. James has returned to Cleveland. Carmelo Anthony has returned to the Knicks. Pau Gasol signed with the Bulls. Paul Pierce has signed with Washington Wizards giving them veteran leadership. Then, the Indiana Pacers are still trying to convince Lance Stephenson to return.
What about Miami? Bosh signed his deal to return much to the dismay of the Houston Rockets. Wade will return as well. They added Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts, and drafted Shabazz Napier. Reports are that the Heat are pursuing Luol Deng. Pat Riley won’t go down without a fight.
Regardless of the drama in the East, the Western Conference still is in control. The defending-champion Spurs looked primed to repeat after re-signing Patty Mills, Boris Diaw, and signing rookie Kyle Anderson.
The Los Angeles Clippers are my personal favorite to taking the title next year as Doc Rivers improves their bench.
Then, when you add the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and the Golden State Warriors to the mix, odds are in the West’s favor.
We put all that on hold for the time being. The Chosen One has returned home. King James has returned to the royal Cleveland throne, and his new reign has begun. The NBA better be prepared.