This summer Heat megastar LeBron James will become the most coveted free agent in the history of the NBA if not all of professional sports. Speculation has several teams as possible destinations, a list that includes the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and the Heat themselves.
As the Clash might ask, should he stay or should he go to . . . Cleveland?
Five reasons why James and the Cavaliers would be a good match:
5. At last, he can realize his secret ambition to become a Browns tight end in his spare time. Lord knows they need him.
4. It’s only a 40-mile drive from Quicken Loans Arena to Akron, Ohio, his old dunking grounds.
3. He can reunite with ex-teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a Cavaliers special assistant. The reigning Most Valuable Player thought so highly of Ilgauskas that he attended the former center’s jersey retirement ceremony in Cleveland on his off day.
2. Take his talents back to the team and the city that he jolted four years ago, and his public image would be that much better for it.
1. A few more roster tweaks would be necessary, but a nucleus of James, Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and perhaps Anderson Varejao might be enough to make them Eastern Conference co-favorites.
And five reasons why they wouldn’t be:
5. Have you ever spent a decade in Cleveland one winter?
4. The King James brand outgrew the 20-something-ranked market in the country a long time ago.
3. After James announced that he would head to Miami as a free agent, team owner Dan Gilbert responded in an open letter to fans, “I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former King wins one. You can take it to the bank” Can you say awk-ward, boys and girls?
2. When the organization fired general manager Chris Grant last month, he lost his closest and most respected ally in the front office. His full-time successor will be named this summer.
1. Any such move would be a leap of faith — only seven players are under contract for next season. Nonetheless, with James aboard, expectations would be off the charts. If the team didn’t live up to them, then he would encounter the same criticism and frustration that once prompted him to take his ball elsewhere.
Bottom line: It’s nice to think that the James saga will reach a warm-and-fuzzy conclusion in his hometown. That will be when his physical skills have begun to erode and his earning power is on the decline. To do so now would be another mistake by the lake.