People joke that the NBA was waiting to find out what LeBron James would do in free agency, and then the rest of the dominos would fall. It wasn’t a joke, and now it’s finally happening.
After a long wait, LeBron James revealed via an article on SportsIllustrated.com that he would be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team he spent his first seven NBA seasons with.
James voiced his eagerness to return to help bring a championship to the Cavaliers, and admitted he “always knew” he’d return, but just wasn’t sure when would be the right time. At 29 years old (he’ll be 30 in December), James is choosing his prime as the right time, and leaves behind a Miami Heat team that reached the NBA Finals (and won two titles) each year he was in South Beach.
James also did a solid job in making his decision somewhat low-key this time around, which comes off much less arrogant when compared to the way ESPN televised the infamous “Decision” back in 2010.
The important thing here is James is unmasking himself as a person for all to see in the SI feature. He’s showing that he’s human, and revealing that leaving Cleveland back in 2010 was about obtaining a title and not turning his back on his home state.
In fact, James reflected on his stay in Miami as completely positive, but referred to it almost as a four-year stay at a college for a teenager that grows into an adult. James cited that he needed that four-year experience to become a man, to become a champion and be able to return to the Cavaliers as the player he is today.
There were some minor moves that had gone down prior to James announcing his move. With James no longer in Miami, though, the dominos really are about to fall – and a rapid rate, at that.
The Houston Rockets are now fully expected to extend a max deal to Chris Bosh, which should pull Bosh away from Miami and leave what is left of the Big 3 to rot. That could be Dwyane Wade and his bulky knees, or it could prop up a backup plan the Heat potentially have in place. Perhaps Wade and Bosh both stay in Miami and bring in Carmelo Anthony and/or Pau Gasol. Or maybe the Heat just bring in Luol Deng and some other role players and see if they can still compete.
The dominos will continue to fall one way or another, as Carmelo Anthony will make his decision in the near future, with his decision also likely have a significant impact on the landscape of the NBA free agency period.
James returning to Cleveland arguably changes the league for the better. He has a chance at redeeming himself for leaving four years ago, while his departure also opens things up in the Eastern Conference for other teams to get a little more competitive.
It’s anyone’s guess how the rest will unfold, but we’ll all remember, regardless of how it shakes out, exactly how it all got started.