The NBA free agency is always an interesting one. Unlike the NFL and MLB (somewhat), pro basketball teams actually make trades and the possibility of a big name changing teams is likely. That’s what we’ve gotten so far this season. Most of the world is focused on the tournament down in Brazil but here in the United States, the sports world was waiting for something to happen. Because this off season, LeBron James was going to make a move. There were other big names out there like Carmelo Anthony, who could very well leave New York, but the entire league took a step back and waited for LeBron to make a move. It’s hard to imagine a time when one single player could affect the process of an entire league but that’s what we got. Social media networks sprouted rumors and statements with “sources say” from people around the NBA but nothing was set in stone. I had a feeling that only LeBron, and whoever was going to break the story, knew exactly what he was going to do. That part of this process was one that I liked. While ESPN and other sports networks built the story up with random developments, Sports Illustrated did the actual reporting. LeBron James will opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat and return to the Cavaliers; in a simple message he simply stated “I’m coming home” to all of his Instagram followers.
We can go on and on about the Miami Heat and their fan base, always putting quotation marks when referring to them. And as much as I dislike the Heat, let’s not make it about them. This is about Cleveland now. This is about a city that has had their heart broken and about a player trying to mend whatever wounds he caused. Things ended very salty between LeBron and the city of Cleveland but now he’s trying to fix that while adding something else to his legacy. Let’s not forget that he was emphatically boo’ed when he first returned to play in the Cavaliers arena while wearing a different team’s uniform. Those same fans will now have to support James as both sides try and leave the past where it is. LeBron stated that he talked to Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert “face-to face and man-to-man” and by all accounts they’re on good terms now. It’s interesting but at the same time, what other narrative is there to take? But wait, shouldn’t we be talking about this from a basketball standpoint?
LeBron was never going to leave the eastern conference. Why would he? The conference is in such bad shape that just by him moving to the Cavaliers, they’re automatically the favorites to win the east. Several teams are on the rise (Raptors, Hawks, Wizards and Hornets) while no one knows what’s going to happen with the Pacers. Let’s also add that reports indicate that Chris Bosh will end up in Houston, so who’s left to represent the conference in the Finals? Unless Melo decides to join the Bulls, the Cavs are the de facto best team in the eastern conference. The Bulls are also a candidate but i’m waiting to see how Derrick Rose recovers and how they fix their scoring issues. So right now the Cavaliers starting five consists of Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins in the backcourt, LeBron, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao in the frontcourt. Not exactly world-beaters and they still have some chemistry issues but with LeBron, anything really is possible. LeBron’s future is with the Cavaliers remains with a bit of mystery but he’s made his decision and the sports world must accept it, for better or worse.