LeBron James could be a Cleveland Cavalier next season. Of course the operative word there is “could”. LeBron could opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer. “The King” won back-to-back titles in Miami and has an excellent chance at a three-peat this season. Leaving Miami would be tough after a potential three-peat, but there are long-term questions about whether the Heat can continue to add pieces financially.
While the short-term potential in South Beach is tantalizing, the long-term potential in LeBron’s old home of Cleveland could be amazing.
Why Cleveland? Not only would James return to try and win a ring and a sense of redemption in his home state, he would also join an up-and-coming Cavaliers side.
Cleveland won’t exactly be pouting if their hometown hero stays in Miami. After all, they’re likely bound for the lottery again this season, and the potential to add one of Dante Exum, Julius Randle, Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker to a nucleus of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett is ridiculous.
Throw in Tyler Zeller, Anderson Varejao and Andew Bynum and you have a scary team.
(Let’s say that for all intents and purposes, the Cavs draft Exum, as suggested in this CBS piece, and start Varejao at center.)
How about this for a rotation-
PG Kyrie Irving
SG Dante Exum
F Anthony Bennett
F LeBron James
C Anderson Varejao
G Jarrett Jack
G Dion Waters
F Tristan Thompson
F Tyler Zeller
C Andrew Bynum
F Earl Clark
Cheap, Ray Allen-like Signing
Players would be lining up to play for this team. Not only do you have LeBron, but you also have a soon-to-be superstar in Irving and another potential superstar in their draft pick. It might not be Exum who the team takes, but with the depth in the upcoming draft class, whoever the pick is, they’re going to have tremendous upside.
The long-term potential in Cleveland for LeBron is undeniable. What’s more is that if, at age 35, LeBron can’t physically carry the team like he carries Miami now, Cleveland can turn to Irving or their young draft pick as the focal point of the team. They can then use LeBron in a more complimentary, less physically taxing role.
I’m not putting it past LeBron to carry a championship contender at age 35, but who knows what will happen when he gets up there in age.
The short-term potential in Miami is better than Cleveland, but I’ll pose it this way, if you were LeBron, do you want to be playing with the declining Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in your later career years? Or do you want to be playing with a younger, more exciting Cleveland team where you don’t have to do as much?
It should also be noted that Wade and Bosh are going to be paid a lot of money down the road, as is LeBron. Thus making it difficult to add more pieces to compete for rings.
LeBron to Cleveland. Makes a lot of sense.