Sunday, June 10, 2018

LeBron can’t lose no matter what he does

Now that LeBron James and the Cavaliers have been dispatched rather handily by the Golden State Warriors, let the crazy offseason begin.

Let the nonsensical, bizarre, crazy rumors of whose uniform LeBron will wear next season take over interest in the National Basketball Association {along with the college draft) for the next month or so.

It’s not exactly a Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego scenario swirling around Planet LeBron. The fascination, however, has elicited numerous scenarios, replete with semi-reasoned thoughts, as to his next destination.

It conjured up the situation following the 2013-14 season when the world’s greatest basketball player took his talents to Miami. The speculation was crazy then. It’s even crazier now.

(Full disclosure: Back then, I did not take his departure well. I believed he turned his back on his home area. Yes, he was from Akron, but he was a Clevelander through and through. I railed and had no regrets doing so.)

Now it is different. Completely different.

LeBron has become an iconic figure, one of the few celebrities in the world recognized by just his first name. When he returned to Cleveland four years ago, he made a promise.

In leading the Cavaliers to four straight championship series and by winning the whole thing in 2016, he kept that promise. And it was easy to see that title was the most meaningful of the three he has helped win. More so than the two he won with the Heat.

He did his damndest to make it three, but lack of a quality supporting cast and an outstanding Golden State Warriors team in those four seasons made it impossible.

The immediate future of the Cavaliers is such that even if LeBron surprises everyone and chooses to remain with Cleveland, a fifth straight trip to the finals is a long shot at best.

He is chasing a legacy named Michael Jordan. Despite setting records that will be difficult to break along the way in his 15-year career, he is only halfway to Jordan’s six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.

Unfortunately, that is the standard, fairly or unfairly, by which many people compare the two great players. Jordan is still considered the greatest of all time and LeBron is the chaser.

He is still young enough at 33 and healthy enough to achieve his goal of at least tying Jordan. For the first time in his career, he played all 82 games in the regular season, 104 overall.

In order to accomplish that goal, he needs the right team, the right atmosphere, the right culture. At this point in his career, he deserves that. He cannot get it in Cleveland.

And that is why my reaction when he leaves this time will be decidedly different. It will be with a greater understanding that while his heart will always be in northeast Ohio, his talent belongs elsewhere.

Swirling rumors have him landing in Los Angeles with the Lakers, Houston, San Antonio, Philadelphia, Boston and, yes, Cleveland.

The only way he would follow though on his avowed desire to retire with the Cavaliers is to place family above professional ambitions. His wife’s family lives in the Akron area.

Then again, he owns two homes in the Los Angeles area and one of the unsubstantiated rumors making the rounds says he has enrolled his two sons in a school in the tony Brentwood area of Los Angeles.

LeBron the entrepreneur has also dipped his talents in the motion picture industry and television production and what better place to further that career than Los Angeles.

Other speculation has LeBron winding up in Houston as the final piece of the puzzle as the Rockets inch closer to knocking off the Warriors. Hard to believe there are enough basketballs for LeBron, James Harden and Chris Paul.

Another rumor speculates LeBron recruiting Paul and Paul George to join him with the young Lakers club, much like he did with Chris Bosh joining Dwyane Wade in Miami.

One of the numerous Boston rumors has Kyrie Irving possibly returning to the Cavaliers with LeBron going to the Celtics in a sign-and-trade to join up with the terrific young studs on the that roster.

And 76ers center Joel Embiid has lobbied long and hard to join him and his highly improved young mates in Philadelphia.

As for San Antonio, playing for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would hold the greatest appeal. LeBron has been an outspoken admirer of Popovich for many seasons.

After the final game of the season Friday night, LeBron said he has “no idea at this point” what he will do. “I’ll consider my family,” he said. “Sitting down and considering everything, but my family is a huge part of what I’ll do. I don’t have an answer for you right now.”

That answer most likely will arrive within the next month, probably after the Cavaliers make the eighth pick of the draft, not knowing what he’ll do.

That’s okay. At this point, he is more than entitled to go wherever he wants and play for whomever he wants. He has earned that entitlement.

After 15 seasons, he deserves to be happy. If that means moving away a second time, so be it. He still will always be the greatest Cavalier. This time, there will be no quarreling from this corner.

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5 comments:

  1. Does anybody really care????

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  2. Replies
    1. The Cavs are done no matter what Lebron does. With the exception of him, that whole team just flat-out quit after that first finals game. One man does not a team make. The organization has never provided him with a competent supporting cast and I wouldn't blame him a bit if he told them to shove it. Its just not right to put it all on his back!

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  3. Will not respond unless you identify yourself, preferably by name.

    ReplyDelete
  4. OK, how's this?

    ReplyDelete