If LeBron signs in Cleveland, How Could the Rest of the FA Dominoes Fall?

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ALL EYES ON LeBRON: Dec 10, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) talks to center Chris Bosh (1) and guard Dwayne Wade (3) during a game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With the ghost chasing rumors still flying like crazy in one of the most outrageous truth (or ratings) chases ever, it’s time to take a breather from stalking Dan Gilbert’s plane (which he may or may not be on) and look at where some best fit situations will be when the dust settles from this atomic bomb of Tweets and “Plugged-in Sources.”

Not being a LeBron James fan myself, I’m aware enough of the situations to see the tea leaves point to LeBron coming back to Cleveland. The experiment in Miami has hit failure, much of which would have been weeded out earlier had the Eastern Conference not been a red carpet to the Finals these past 2 seasons but that’s what happens when you take 3 of the top 5 players in the conference and put them on one team (then have the other fall victim to 2 season ending injuries and and the other get into battle with his All-Star teammate). The disadvantages of getting 3 franchise players reared it’s ugly head in these past 2 seasons and showed how vulnerable that model of building a franchise is. We were 13 seconds away from watching this supposed dynasty falter into the dust with just 1 championship.

When you have 3 franchise players on the team you need them to take serious pay-cuts, not just cute for the media paycuts (see Dirk and Duncan’s new deals). That’s a hard thing to do with players in their prime who are getting, possibly, their only chance at 1-2 mega max deals. You then have to bank on veterans to take serious pay-cuts and not just any veterans, but vets with flaws, because otherwise they’d still be able to make a serious impact on another team. Also you have to hope that one of your late 1st round picks is a home run and can help, otherwise that team is going to be pretty bare. Then even if you get all that right, the one thing out of everyone’s control is injuries. If you have one of those franchise player’s body start to break down like Wade’s did, it’s all over.

There’s just no way that team can continue to control the waves of the NBA. Luckily for LeBron and Bosh, they had opt-outs this season. You can officially say the future in Miami does not look good. There’s next to no young talent, and besides James and Bosh there’s close to no proven consistent talent either (Danny Granger has been dealing with injuries and has yet to prove he can get back to his early days and Josh McRoberts isn’t moving the needle enough). They already know that James, Bosh and Wade (alone) they way they are now, aren’t good enough. The only shot you’d have is if you make it the Big 4 or kick Wade out and get…Melo? There’s still a chance of that, as little as possible, but this isn’t a Disney story so we’re not going to just give it a happy-ending (coulda went a totally different way but I’m pretty sure the editor would not allow a massage parlor joke there). What more than likely will end up happening is if LeBron went back to Miami they’d have to overspend (because you almost always have to in free agency, just look at the recent deals compared to talent) and give the team a slightly overpaid group of vets with no upside and no solid chance of winning in the finals. So where does everyone go?

LeBron James 

I don’t believe LeBron has made a final decision. I think he’s still mauling it over. You know that feeling. You’ve broken up with a girl for a few months (or years in this case) but you see her recently, she’s looking good (and not just in visual sense, but she seems to have made the transition from Lindsey Lohan to Tina Fey-tell me there’s a hotter woman in this universe than Tina Fey…I DARE YOU).  But you’re nervous. Things ended badly. In the back of your mind you always knew you’d get back together, you just needed some time to grow. You’re sorta seeing someone and they were real flashy at first, maybe it was more of a physical thing, but now you’re ready to get into something serious and the connection and passion you had at first has now subsided as the weaknesses you tried to hide are too much to ignore at his point. So you know what you should do. You know what you want to do. But it’s nerve-racking to make that move and get back in a relationship. Especially because all of your friends are going to talk. They’re going to say how can you get back together with so-so, remember what they did to you last time you were together. Remember how they made you feel? So there’s a slight hesitation but you know, you’re getting back together with her. You may have to take your friends to dinner and make a statement about how you guys have talked, worked out your differences and apologized to one another. Talk about how you were both maybe a little immature at first, still being so new to this experience but that you made some actions that you regret and wouldn’t do today, expressing belief in the growth each other had made. But then it’s time to get back to being happy.

And LeBron being happy is being in a loaded roster with guys who are going to grow exponentially with LeBron on their side. Kyrie Irving, I think, is the best player on any of the two rosters at this point plus he’s still only 22. You’ve got the #1 pick, and probably next big star in the league, in Andrew Wiggins. You’ve got your choice in young power forwards in #1 pick Anthony Bennett and #4 Tristan Thompson. At this point there’s no indication any will reach Chris Bosh level but I don’t think they’re going to be too far from it either. Anthony Bennett has shown improvements so far this off-season to get back in shape, work to help get his sleep under control-however one does that, and take this season seriously. Then you have LeBron favorite in the all-hustler Anderson Varejao. Throw in Dion Waiters (who I think has the ability to become a star in this league) off the bench and assets to work a Kevin Love deal, if not now then when they get real desperate at the trade deadline when it becomes very real that they’ll lose their star player for nothing, and you’ve got a roster that is exactly what LeBron is looking for. With the East being so open there’s no reason the Cavs don’t make the finals this season with the following years only better as the talent grows as their young players hit their prime. Imagine that scenario. Your floor is Eastern Conference Finals every year and your ceiling is 4-5 titles in the next 6-8 years. That’s unbelievable. If it’s between the Cavs and the Heat, it’s a no-brainer.