What If LeBron James Stayed in Miami?


The Cleveland Cavaliers open today with Media Day. We all know how this off-season has played out: As close to perfect as could be. Won the NBA Draft Lottery. Drafted Andrew Wiggins. Extended Kyrie Irving. Signed LeBron James. Traded for Kevin Love. Signed Mike Miller. Signed James Jones. Signed Shawn Marion. Traded for Brendan Haywood and his huge non-guaranteed deal next year. Traded for Keith Bogans and his $5 million non-guaranteed deal for next year. And still could sign Ray Allen.

It has been crazy. But what if LeBron had decided to stay in Miami instead of returning to his home state? This is the article we think we would have written today, on Media Day that would look much different:

The Cleveland Cavaliers off-season, that started with such a bang winning the NBA Draft Lottery for the rights to select Andrew Wiggins, ends today with Media Day. The rest of the off-season was far less profitable for the team, though there seemed to be a chance of something huge. Instead LeBron James returned to Miami and the Cavs were left to try to put together a playoff caliber roster with a ton of young players.

We will start with James as he was the turning point for this off-season. James flirted with his home state. Teased us. All signs pointed to him returning. David Griffin even traded away Tyler Zeller, Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev and a first round pick just to have enough cap space to sign “the King.” It was all for nothing. James returned with his boys to Miami and the Cavs are left holding the bag. Again.

This time it is different. The anger and frustration is real but it is different. James may have burned the bridge “home” for good. Instead of returning a hero with a chance to retire and make a difference in his home state, he stuck with what he knows stating he had some “unfinished business” in South Beach. Instead of being connected back to the whole state of Ohio he remained the villain for all to despise.

Had he returned the Cavs may have been able to add some veteran talent, either via free agency or trade, that could have turned the team around. James could have cemented his legacy and even planned to buy an ownership stack of the Cavs when he retired. Now he likely will not be wanted back, though he will likely play his farewell season, in his late 30s, here in Cleveland. He got the fans hopes up again only to let them down. He burned his bridge and the Cavs moved on.

David Griffin made the best moves he could to try to create a contender. With Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson the Cavs have 5 young players that can be the nucleus to a long term contender.

To that Griffin overpaid to bring in Chandler Parsons, a sweet shooting small forward. After that signing the Cavs only had a little left under the cap to try to bring in complimentary front court piece to go with Bennett, Thompson and Anderson Varejao. The Cavs were able to snag 2nd year man Ryan Kelly by overpaying for the restricted stretch 4 from the LA Lakers. The Cavs also tried to lure Pau Gasol but the Heat were able to add him to their fold instead.

The rest of the Cavs roster looks familiar to last year with only Wiggins and Parsons providing any significant upgrade. The team should improve, and will be more athletic, but will depend on quick development from Wiggins as well as a far different Anthony Bennett in year number 2. The Cavs margin for error is small and the team needs to make the playoffs soon before the whole thing gets blown up.

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This should be an exciting Cavs team, how far they get this year is a different story. Unfortunately the dreams we had in early July were just smoke and mirrors again. I guess that is what happens when you try to get back the one who dumped you the first time. Some things never change.

Aren’t you so thankful that is not the narrative this morning?

Instead we get to celebrate all that the Cavs have become. The amazing moves that Griffin and James have been able to make together to get us all that talent. How great it will be to cheer for a team with a shot at a championship this year.

How did you feel reading this non-LeBron to Cavs report? It sickened me just a bit to write but highlights how great it is to be a Cavs fan in 2014-15!

Here is how the lead photo really does look, without the added fake words:

Aug 8, 2014; Akron, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the LeBron James Family Foundation Reunion and Rally at InfoCision Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports