It seemed like an impossibility just four short (or were they long?) years ago. From the moment that LeBron James uttered his now infamous statement about taking his talents to South Beach, everything changed for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Fans started burning jerseys with “23” on the back and Dan Gilbert wrote and released a poorly executed letter that resembled the words of a vengeful ex (which was apparently only taken down from the Cavs’ website yesterday), bridges were burned that seemed like they could never be rebuilt.
And now, it feels like the Cavaliers could be on the brink of redemption from the same hero who left in such an acrimoniously way to pursue championships in Miami. Excitement in Cleveland seemed to come to a crest yesterday as both national and local media sources released information that forced new hope among the Cavalier faithful.
From Dan Gilbert’s private plane being tracked on it’s way to Miami …
Tracking Dan Gilbert’s plane, with Zydrunas Ilgauskas on it, to recruit LeBron four years after The Decision. NBA free agency is the best
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) July 7, 2014
To Dan Gilbert removing his plane from public tracking…
As an aside to all this NBA free-agency madness, I’ve been told Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has removed his plane from public tracking. — Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 7, 2014
To reports that LeBron’s inner-circle (which of course includes his wife) would prefer him to return to Cleveland …
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 7, 2014
Within a matter of hours hope took a step forward into what felt like realism. It no longer seemed like an impossible dream, but rather a legitimate option/possibility that could very well come true. Even to the point that national media started to declare Cleveland as the front runner.
Cleveland has replaced Miami as my frontrunner to land LeBron James… — Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 7, 2014
Even Vegas has jumped on the LeBron to Cleveland train, having now changed the Cavaliers’ odds of winning the 2015 NBA championship to 30-1, where it was previously 60-1. LeBron’s mere presence in a Cavaliers’ jersey would be enough to immediately turn Cleveland into one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavaliers could easily open up the space under the salary cap by trading Jarrett Jack’s contract, of which the Brooklyn Nets are agreeable to take. All that’s left is to find a third team who would be willing to take on the expiring contract of Marcus Thornton, which attaching a first round pick (if necessary) would easily make happen.
No matter what happens in regards to LeBron James, this trade or one like it will almost certainly take place shortly.
But for now, all that is left is to wait. Wait for LeBron to make his decision and to sign his name on the dotted line.
And in an instant the past four years would be worth it, the losing would have had a purpose, the heartbreak would have made a difference, and the Cavaliers would have successfully built a team that was able to lure the best player on the planet to come to Cleveland.
Either that, or another stomach punch for the ages … but then again, things might be different this time around.
Growing expectation that the purpose of LeBron’s meeting with Riley will be to inform Heat of his decision to return to the Cavs.
— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) July 8, 2014