Well, here we go again.
LeBron James shocked the NBA sphere in 2010 when he decided to take his talents to South Beach to run with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. Come the summer of 2014, he has a chance to flabbergast the masses again.
And according to ESPN.com's Chris Broussard, that's exactly what James may intend to do.
Whilst appearing on ESPN's SportsCenter, Broussard explained that there is a "good chance" LeBron returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014:
I haven't spoken to LeBron, but I think there's a good chance he goes back to Cleveland in 2014.
Don't be surprised. LeBron James loves Northeast Ohio, still lives there in the summer and would love to make it right with that region.
I think there's a good chance he goes back and I said this when he first left: 'Don't be surprised if LeBron James returns to Cleveland.'
I'm telling you, 'Don't be surprised.'
Well, Mr. Broussard, color us slightly surprised—for now, at least.
James has the opportunity to become a free agent (again) after next season. Though there's no way he will have made good on his pledge to bring eight or more championships to Miami, teams are already crafting sales pitches and constructing rosters around his potential availability—including the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Per Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, Cleveland—the same city LeBron spurned a little more than two years ago—is positioning itself to bring Broussard's prediction to fruition:
Executives and agents around the league are convinced the Cavaliers won’t do anything to jeopardize their ability to sign a free agent to a max contract during the summer of 2014, when LeBron James can again become a free agent. As fans in Northeast Ohio continue to howl and remain divided about the possibility of his return, more and more people around the league believe there is a strong possibility James will indeed return to Cleveland after next season.
The Cavs are well aware of this, too, and won’t take on a bad contract if it compromises their cap space in two years. That means any bad contract they would obtain in a potential trade would have to expire after next season. It doesn’t make a deal impossible, but it dramatically reduces the field — and it decreases the price the Cavs can command since their future obligations would be brief.
Color us even more surprised.
James is a unique talent, and easily the best there is in the league, but I'd be remiss if I didn't admit I'm skeptical about him returning to the Cavaliers. I respect his desire (or need) to make things "right," but irreparable damage has already been done.
Say LeBron returns to Cleveland, say he wins one or more championships for the team that drafted him. What then?
No matter how many titles James wins for Dan Gilbert and company, he'll still be the Chosen One who chose to leave. While the team and the entire "region" may be prepared to forgive, they—like the rest of us—will never forget.
And as LeBron contemplates The Decision Part Two, neither will he.
That the Cavaliers, that all of Cleveland may be setting themselves up for a James-invoked heartbreak.
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