LeBron James has announced that he is a Cleveland Cavalier once more, through Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:
I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.
You should really read the whole message. It's touching, and it's clear that LeBron is a human being through all of this. And now he plays for the home town team.
The Akron native has won the Most Valuable Player Award four times. He has won two NBA championships and been to the NBA Finals on five occasions. He spent his first seven seasons in the NBA in Cleveland, leading them to the 2007 NBA Finals, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. It is Cleveland's only appearance in the NBA Finals. It should immediately vault the Cavaliers into contention for an Eastern Conference title, and perhaps more.
His first go round in Cleveland concluded with two 60+ win seasons. The Orlando Magic eliminated the team in in the Eastern Conference Finals 2009, a major upset. In 2010, the Cavs were eliminated by the Boston Celtics. James was plagued by a mysterious elbow injury, and the team was ultimately run off the floor. James left for Miami a month later.
In his time away LeBron James refined his game, and has become an efficient, positionless behemoth. He is unstoppable in the post, shoots threes, and doesn't miss the open man. His court vision, if you'll remember, is phenomenal. He has been the quarterback of Miami's defense, though he took more possessions off on that end than ever last season. He can still awe you with his transcendent talent, but what James is now is simply a great basketball player. His potential has been realized.
His time in Miami undoubtedly successful, James will attempt to help Cleveland contend for and win championships. He will be helped by Kyrie Irving, a two time All-Star, and a team filled with young players and draft picks. More moves are likely to help transition the team from the slow developing stage to a place where they will be ready to win. An unproven head coach and general manager will be tasked with molding the team into a consistent winner. It's not a lock that the Cavs reach their ultimate goal, but when you start with LeBron James, the margin for error widens considerably.
This decision vindicates the Cavaliers decision to both keep roster flexibility, and move future picks, Tyler Zeller, and Sergey Karasev. The Cavaliers made calculated bets that they could lure James back when much of the nation thought it was a fool's errand.
Many Cavaliers fans are likely to be somewhat conflicted by this. James broke many hearts with The Decision. He had said he would not rest until he brought the city of Cleveland a championship. Once gone, he admitted that he had grown up hating people from Cleveland. The Cavaliers faithful, and the owner Dan Gilbert, did not hide their displeasure when James left. Many crossed the line of reasonable vitriol.
Everyone reacted in their own way four years ago and in the time since, and no one should tell anyone what they should feel. The simple fact of the matter is that James will make the Cavaliers better. Much better.
Fear the Sword will be your place for Cavs news in the coming days and weeks. The Kyrie and LeBron era is here.