We all know how the two sides parted: LeBron James went on national television to announce his “Decision” that he was famously “taking his talents to South Beach” as a free agent in the summer of 2010.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert took on the role of jilted lover, writing a scathing letter that described James’ decision to leave the Cavaliers as a “shocking act of disloyalty” and a “shameful display of selfishness and betrayal.”
So, yeah, the team and the player could have parted ways on better terms.
But FOXSports Ohio’s Sam Amico wrote on Tuesday that the notion of James returning to the Cavaliers isn’t as crazy as it might seem to be on the surface.
James can opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat at the end of the 2013-14 season and it may be that the Heat will be in a decline by then.
Dwyane Wade will be 32 and the All-Star and two-time title winner is showing signs of decline. Chris Bosh has, at times, appeared to be sleep-walking his way through this season.
So it might not be the craziest of ideas that James could be looking for a better situation by the end of next season.
The Cavaliers might just offer that situation.
James will be nearing 30 in the summer of 2014. As Amico writes, James could be looking for a situation with a team that has a young point guard on the rise.
There is a team that has one of those … as well as the financial flexibility to offer a maximum deal to a free agent.
That team would be the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving is better than any point guard who has ever shared an NBA court as a teammate of James and he’s only 20 years old, the youngest player on Cleveland’s roster.
Barring some sort of catastrophic setback, the odds are overwhelming that Irving will be even better after another season and a half of NBA play.
So it would make sense that James might want to step back from some of the playmaking responsibilities he had with the Cavaliers and currently has with the Heat and let someone younger do the heavy lifting.
Irving would certainly be the type of All-Star supporting player that James never had in his first stint in Cleveland. The Cavaliers also have a young nucleus of Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller and Dion Waiters to build around and, by the end of next season, might be one player away from returning to title contention.
James would be a heck of a guy to add as that one player.
A lot of time has passed since the summer of 2010 and, as the old saying goes, time heals all wounds. Reportedly, apologies have been exchanged between the James camp and the Gilbert camp and by all accounts, James is a more mature, more professional person than he was three years ago.
That’s not saying a LeBron-to-Cleveland move will happen. But it’s not as ridiculous as it might seem to be at first glance.
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Hoops Habit's assistant editor is also a veteran of 20-plus years in the newspaper industry as a writer and editor. His roots are as a sports writer and later in his career transitioned to news for several years. He also assisted with the development and maintenance of a newspaper website and also has experience in the advertising arena. Currently a self-employed sports commentator with a locally syndicated radio show and blog, he is currently based in Upper Michigan.