As we have been saying the Cleveland Cavaliers could be the central figure in an NBA Off-Season that changes the course of the league. With the #1 pick, cap space and tradeable assets the Cavs could add 2 or 3 starters to their roster and be ready to compete with the best of the East in a year or 2. Bill Simmons has one of his longer articles with 24 questions from the NBA Finals. When he gets to what LeBron James could do if he leaves Miami Simmons had Cleveland mentioned in the first two options:
Door No. 1 (-400 odds): LeBron opts in for one more year, hopes that Miami can patch together a better bench (and get lucky with its first-round pick), then targets the summer of 2015 (when Cleveland will be a year further along and more big-market teams — including the Clippers, Lakers and Knicks — have cap space).
This seems to be an option more and more people are looking at for James. If the Heat weren’t destroyed in the Finals it would make more sense. It would be tough to see James return only for 1 more season with a very similar team. Opting in would limit the cap space the Heat would have to add on, since both Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade would most likely opt in. With Cleveland this is an option as it gives their young players a chance to prove themselves and gel together under a new coach before James decides to join them, if they look like they are a team on the rise. Yet James is more likely to either move this year or do something to make the current Heat better while re-signing there. Which leads to another Simmons option:
Door No. 2 (+400 odds): He goes back to Cleveland and convinces Carmelo to come with him. Do NOT rule this out. Especially if Cleveland hires a coach that LeBron likes. The Cavs are loaded with young assets and could create whatever team LeBron wanted. And also, you gotta love the fairy-tale ending here — LeBron coming home as 10,000 different Cavs fans make YouTube montages of him with that “I’m Coming Home” song.
(The biggest obstacle: Will LeBron ever forgive Dan Gilbert for The Letter? From what I’m hearing … not anytime soon. I’d start groveling to a connected third party right now, Mr. Gilbert, if you’re not doing that already.)
First starting with the letter; James is going to make a decision that is best for his legacy, get him more shots at championship rings and that makes his family happy. Gilbert’s letter, while at some level stupid, won’t have a huge impact on that. Their relationship could.
As for Melo and LeBron teaming up in Cleveland: interesting dynamics. The Cavs would have to strip down as much as possible off their roster but hope to keep Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and assumed #1 pick Joel Embiid. Those 3 along with James and Anthony would be a dynamic starting 5. If James and Anthony take less money to team up the Cavs could keep more of their young depth, one of the reasons James would be interested in returning to the Cavs. 2 max type players deciding to come to Cleveland is a tough sell. Both of them taking less money to do so is even more difficult to believe
Yet Simmons says not to rule it out. Many don’t respect Simmons, for a lot of good reasons, some not so good. He doesn’t always seem to have his ear to the ground instead his rumors seem more related to what he thinks could happen or what he wants to happen. Odds are mighty low of James and Anthony teaming up in Cleveland next year but odds were mighty low that James would go on TV and spurn his “hometown” team in front of the nation.
What do you think of Simmons “Do NOT rule out” James and Anthony?