Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Not So Homecoming – Why LeBron Will Not Come Back to Cleveland

LeBron James has been playing professional basketball since 2003. James was drafted out of St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School in Akron, Cleveland. LeBron played with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2003-2010, which he took them to the NBA Finals and won his first MVP award as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

            When 2010 came, LeBron had to make a decision; do I stay in Cleveland or do I leave to play somewhere else? Well, on his own public announcement, which was aired on ESPN, LeBron James announced “I’ll be taking my talents to South Beach, Miami.”

            Devastated by the decision, many Cavalier fans began to hate LeBron. They cursed his name, burned anything they had of him such as jerseys, posters, etc, and they just became bitter to the fact LeBron left his hometown to establish a “Big 3” in Miami with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

            With the Miami Heat, LeBron has won 3 MVP’s, 2 NBA Championship awards, and 2 NBA Finals MVP Awards. Despite all the achievements in Miami, LeBron still goes back to Cleveland and donates a lot of money to his hometown and schools. One can see why Cavalier fans are upset with his decision but it is hard to see why one could hate him. James does a lot for the Cleveland community, which helps the community grow and look nice. However, at the end of the 2013 season, LeBron James’ contract expires which opens the door for the homecoming; LeBron James back to his hometown, Cleveland.

            LeBron James has played against the Cleveland Cavaliers 5 times in Cleveland as a member of the Miami Heat. Each time he plays in Cleveland, there is a sellout audience with a mix of cheers and boos. Last season, a fan ran on the court with a t-shirt that said on the front “We Miss You” and on the back “2014 Come Back.” Is there any chance LeBron will come back to Cleveland as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers?

            There are a few reasons why LeBron won’t come back to Cleveland. First off, what is there to do in Cleveland? It’s not a favorable free agency landing spot like Miami is.

Secondly, it’s a young Cleveland team with little NBA playing experience. LeBron’s second hand man would be Kyrie Irving. Yes, Kyrie has a bright NBA future if he could score the ball consistently. Irving has a horrible FG% but that can improve if LeBron arrives in Cleveland. It actually might make Kyrie a better player since the main focus won’t be on him. Why would LeBron want to go somewhere though that is young when he wants to win now?

Thirdly, a new connection would need to be established with LeBron and Irving in Cleveland. If you look at the success of the Miami Heat in the past few years, you’ll see that LeBron and Wade are the best complement of players in the league. They know what each other are going to do and they know how to play alongside each other. Wade can carry the team with LeBron resting. Kyrie can’t really carry a team if LeBron is resting.

Fourthly, Kyrie Irving is injury prone. Irving missed the majority of his college career at Duke and is continuing to miss games in the NBA. Wade may only have 3 playing years left in his body before it breaks down but one would believe Wade is a better second hand man than Irving.

Fifthly, it seems like LeBron has a better connection with Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat than he does with Mike Scott of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Sixthly, why would LeBron go back to Cleveland when last time he was there, the Cavaliers did nothing to provide LeBron with a second star? His second option was Mo Williams who is obviously not on the same level as Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh are. What would make one think this time would be different in the sense, maybe the Cavaliers won’t have the money to spend to have more than 2 big names on the team such as Kyrie and LeBron since they’ll need money to also support a 12 man team?

Seventhly and finally, if you’re wondering why only Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade are only being brought up in this topic, it’s because there won’t be a lot of cap space to have other stars on the teams. With that being said, one would have to think “does LeBron want to win now with Wade and the possibility of another player if Bosh leaves? Or, does LeBron want to go back to Cleveland and help Kyrie Irving develop, also risking the chances Irving can be injured again like his history shows?”

            With the chance of Chris Bosh leaving this upcoming offseason to his hometown Dallas, that can open up the chance of Miami singing another big name free agent if LeBron takes a small pay cut. If that does occur, the Miami Heat should look into signing Zach Randolph and bringing him to Miami. Randolph could help the Heat so much on offense and in the rebounding category on offense and defense. That makes staying in Miami a little easier based on the fact that it would be a great addition for Miami because their one weakness is rebounding big men.

            As one can see, the homecoming of LeBron to Cleveland is not impossible, it is just unlikely. Staying in Miami would be the smarter choice based on the reasons stated above. LeBron can have the possible opportunity to return to Cleveland when his career is coming to a close. One can make the claim, if LeBron wants to win now while he’s young and healthy, he should stay in Miami compared to Cleveland who is building for the future. Accolades mean a lot to any star. Miami may provide a better chance for LeBron to build upon his current status of one of the best all time.

Written By: John Harrison | Twitter: @HoopersHub

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