In the latest dramatic turn involving LeBron James and the (lets not forget they are actually STILL the current #1 seed in the much improved Eastern Conference) Cleveland Cavaliers, the conversation has once again turned to LeBron’s future beyond this summer. More meaningless (or meaningful) speculation depending who you ask even though we haven’t played a single minute of postseason basketball.
It’s no secret there’s pressure surrounding the team that if the somehow struggling Cavs don’t win a title or at the very least make a another deep playoff run this spring, it seems to feel like there is a small possibility that the King would actually consider finding a new landing spot and bolting the state of Ohio — YET AGAIN .
We’ve heard in recent weeks — whether serious or not — LeBron James hint at the idea of taking a pay cut and playing with his “Brotherhood” in Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony before his career comes to a close. His
seems from many reports frustrated playing alongside unproven and non playoff tested stars in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Those factors alone should make the Cleveland Cavaliers at the very least keep one eye open on the possibility that James would actually leave the team — AGAIN!!.
From Zack Lowe of ESPN
The Cavs like to downplay that — “It’s hard enough to win without worrying about a damn Twitter,” Lue said — but officials across the organization have been nervously monitoring LeBron’s on-court tantrums. “It’s time for everyone to stop all the glaring and just compete,” Lue said.
Here are my feelings on all this.
I don’t think LeBron James has the balls to play with fire again and leave Cleveland. Is he stuck? In some cases yes because this is a guy that once again is big about protecting his brand. He’s made it no secret that he hungers to be the next billionaire athlete. Leaving Cleveland, while it is “Cleveland” would be a bad look to his brand especially when you go back to the “letter” he penned with Lee Jenkins from Sports Illustrated detailing his reasons and goals as to why he decided to come home.
Whether he or his management team LRNR knows it or not any of the good fortune he regained when he returned to Ohio in 2014 after four successful seasons with the Miami Heat will go likely go back down the drain and most likely leave him probably even more despised than he was from 2010 on. And not just in Cleveland in my opinion
Whether we choose to believe that LeBron would stab Cleveland in the heart again this much is very true: he is still the captain of his ship. The idea that he signed a two year deal with a player option in year two will allow him to keep leverage over the team which means he has major influence on how each Cleveland Cavalier team is shaped. The Cavs of course will always oblige to the King’s wants and needs — so much that currently Cleveland carries the 2nd biggest payroll in league history and yet most observers have admitted that this current roster is disjointed, much of the responsibility landing at LeBron’s feet.
So what’s next?
It’s this simple. Nothing matters right now. Not until mid April. The Cleveland Cavaliers ultimately are judged by what they do in the postseason and that alone. But what’s also clear is that both the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs seems to have separated themselves from the rest of the NBA scrum in recent weeks. A scrum that includes yes — the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While its most likely the Cavs will represent the Eastern Conference in this June’s Finals as they remain the odds on favorite, it is worth noting that the Eastern Conference have shown vast improvement across the board. If we are to believe the recent Cavs struggles are in fact “real” and Cleveland doesn’t even make the NBA Finals, then and only then do I see major panic.
THEN we can really speculate LeBron’s future to our hearts desire just like we did in 2010 and then later in 2014 and who knows, maybe the calculated King of Ohio will actually do the deed and breaks the hearts of Clevelanders this July.
It wouldn’t be the first time.