5 reasons why LeBron James is going back to Cleveland
JUL 11, 2014 5:15a ET
You can stop hitting refresh on LeBron James' website, checking the latest tweets and watching that sports news channel around the clock.
LeBron's going back to Cleveland. Here are five reasons why, so you can go on with your life and impress your friends and coworkers.
5. LeBron still can get max money in Cleveland
Yeah, the Miami Heat still can give him more overall — $119 million and five years, vs. $88 million and four years from any other team — but he still can make the league max this season in Cleveland: $20.64 million, which the Cavaliers cleared in salary cap space with the Jarrett Jack trade. So he can make max money while everyone writes about how he left more money from Miami on the table to return to his hometown. And then he can opt out all over again if he wants and negotiate a new max deal. LeBron knows there's a ton of money to be made with or without the Heat. New jerseys to sell, the whole shebang.
4. LeBron can win back Cleveland and heal the damage of The Decision
You'd think this would be the No. 1 reason 'cause it's the most obvious. LeBron can make things right with the hometown fans, and anyone who thinks they won't welcome him back is silly. Some will hate him forever, but most will forgive and forget. That will make LeBron happy; after all, he and his family still have roots in Ohio, and he's never liked being hated at home. And don't tell me he can't work for Dan Gilbert again. Look how many guys played for Donald Sterling for the past 30 years, and everyone knew he was a bad dude. And if Adam Silver had only suspended Sterling for a year, please believe he still would've had guys playing for the Clippers when he got back. LeBron doesn't have to like Gilbert or even care about him in making this decision.
3. LeBron can win NOW in Cleveland
He carried the Cavs to the Finals before. You think he can't do it again in the sorry-ass East, with Kyrie Irving at point and No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins — or Kevin Love, if the Cavs can swing that trade? If LeBron joins the Cavs, they're a top-five team in the East EASY, even if Carmelo re-signs with the Knicks and Bosh and Wade re-sign with the Heat. (Bosh won't turn down max money from his hometown Rockets.) There's no one to fear in the East right now. And if the Cavs don't win it all next season, they can fire that coach no one ever heard of and LeBron can pick the next one. Or he always can opt out again and go somewhere else.
2. LeBron can cement his legacy in Cleveland, not Miami
Cleveland hasn't had a championship in any major sport since 1964. If LeBron brings the city its first title in 50 years, he not only will be loved forever, but he also will have an extra-special third championship on his résumé. Legacy-wise, there's more to be gained going that route than by batting .500 in Finals in Miami. And besides, how many more titles do the Heat look good for right now, with an aging Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh eating up cap space? No way LeBron was impressed by the Heat signing Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger. If that's Pat Riley's sales pitch, then thanks for the memories.
1. LeBron will be the biggest story in the NBA next season
We're talking round-the-clock hype by the national media and broadcast partners, plus you know the Nike guys already are working on the storyboards for epic "prodigal son" commercials. If LeBron goes back to the Heat, it's just another season in South Beach. Going back to Cleveland, it's a must-see chapter in NBA history. And for a guy like LeBron, who's all about building his brand, that's the most important thing. This will keep him on top of the league even after losing the championship to a bunch of old guys. It will move everyone past the talk of how he failed and have us talking about what a ballsy decision it is. And then, just imagine: LeBron James and Johnny Manziel making headlines in Cleveland. It'd be a dream come true for LeBron's brand, Nike, the NBA and the NFL ...
Think how sick of these guys you are now. Then think of how much more you could be hearing about them in the next year. That's the No. 1 reason why LeBron James is going back to Cleveland.