Tuesday, June 24, 2014

LeBron back to the Cavaliers? No way

The possibilities and probabilities abound. In some cases, they are dizzying.

Where will LeBron James play basketball next season and beyond? After opting out of his contract with the Miami Heat Tuesday, it’s anybody’s guess.

Here’s one uneducated guess: It won’t be Cleveland.

If Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and his cronies are smart, they won’t deign to even step forth and try to become a player in the newest version of the LeBron James Sweepstakes.

No, that psychological ship has sailed.

James will never forget the parting gifts he received as he left Cleveland four years ago. The comic sans letter penned by Gilbert, the burned uniforms, the vile and nasty remarks, many that were extremely personal and hurtful, that gain renewed life whenever his name is mentioned.

He does not have a short memory. And though the manner in which he chose to leave Cleveland was distasteful at best, he can’t help but remember the vilification that accompanied him out of town.

Yes, James still chooses to live in the Cleveland-Akron area during the offseason. And he contributes philanthropically to the Akron area. But there is no way he returns to Cleveland in a basketball capacity this time around.

He might come back some day as a coach or part owner when he is in the twilight of his brilliant career. But the prime of his career days will be devoted to playing anywhere but northeast Ohio.

Those in the so-called know have proffered many different scenarios as to where James will wind up. Returning to the Heat heads the list. Stop and think. Why would he want to play anywhere else?

New York? Brooklyn? Chicago? Los Angeles Clippers? Phoenix? There are many variables to make those cities fit a specific scenario. It seems that most stories include players for those franchises who are “close to James.” It seems that half the league’s players are “close to James.”

The scenario that has gained the most legs is the one where Carmelo Anthony, who just opted out of his New York Knicks contract, winds up in Miami with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

James, Bosh and Wade are just 2-2 in National Basketball Association finals with Wade and his balky knees fading rapidly. So much for the “not just one championship, but two, three, four” talk. Anthony joining them in Miami makes the most sense.

Well, what about Anthony and James joining up in Cleveland with Kyrie Irving and whomever they take No.1 in Thursday’s NBA draft? The dynamics of that possibility, along with those of new coach David Blatt, sure are intriguing. And there is no question the Cavaliers’ bench is stronger than the Heat’s.

Wasn’t Erik Spoelstra a rookie head coach when he took over in Miami four years ago? Blatt could play the Spoelstra role and he’s far more experienced as a head coach.

Hey, wait a minute. I think I’m dreaming of a strategy for Gilbert to use. But first, he has to get down on hands and knees and practically beg for forgiveness for his outrageous letter and subsequent ill-advised remarks of four years ago.

Those were the ramblings of an angry man, he could say. I am a very emotional person and I let those emotions get away from me and I sincerely apologize. Can you find it in your heart (and my checkbook) to ever forgive me?

Nah. That will never happen. The pride factor gets in the way.

It’s nice to dream, but the stark reality of the situation points to just about anywhere else in the NBA universe than Cleveland. 

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