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As LeBron decides, Miami and Cleveland wait

Shocked If LeBron Doesn't Pick Cavs?


By TIM REYNOLDS and TOM WITHERS

When it comes to LeBron James, all that's certain is this: One fan base is about to feel scorned, and other is about to feel absolute joy.

Miami or Cleveland?

The same choice he faced four years ago is the one facing the four-time NBA MVP now. He became a champion in Miami. He still calls Ohio home. It's obviously not an easy decision, and the ramifications of what he's about to say - it's still unclear when any announcement will be coming, but it's more than likely sooner than later - will have a massive impact on the Heat and the Cavaliers.

For the Heat, keeping James is likely the only way they can stay a championship-contending team for a fifth straight season next year. If he stays, it would seem likely that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would re-sign with Miami as well, keeping the "Big 3" that has played in each of the last four NBA Finals intact for at least another season.

For the Cavaliers, it's a chance to welcome home the player who fans - and the team's owner Dan Gilbert - directed so much scorn toward when he left in 2010.

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As he makes his choice, here's some of things he may be considering about returning to Cleveland:

OHIO IS HOME: Akron has always held a special place in James' heart and he's remained loyal to the area. He's maintained his offseason home just south of Cleveland and spends summers there.

BUSINESS HEADQUARTERS: Northeast Ohio is where James and his close friends grew up. He has business interests in the Cleveland area. He and his LRMR agency recently signed popular college quarterback Johnny Manziel to a marketing deal. Manziel now plays for the Browns.

YOUNG ROSTER: Although the Cavaliers haven't made the playoffs since he left, they can offer James a young roster filled with potential and promise. They're led by All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who recently agreed to sign a five-year contract extension, and the Cavs also have two other No. 1 overall draft picks in Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins.

COACHING STAFF: Cleveland's coaching situation could be a concern. The Cavs are on their third coach since James left and the team recently hired David Blatt, an international icon but someone who has not coached in the U.S. before. The Cavs did hire well-respected assistant Tyronn Lue, who has a strong relationship with James.

CAVS ASSETS: The Cavs also have assets they could trade to bring another elite player to Cleveland and have had preliminary talks with Minnesota about a deal for forward Kevin Love.

OWNER: The biggest obstacle in James' possible return could be his relationship with Gilbert. In the hours after James left four years ago, Gilbert blistered James in a scathing left to Cleveland fans, condemning the superstar. In an AP interview that same night, Gilbert said James quit during the playoffs.

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And while James has strong ties to Ohio, he has also forged them in Miami.

PROVEN WINNERS: Instead of potential, the Heat are proven champions. James has been to four straight NBA Finals with Miami, winning two championships. They have made good on the promise Pat Riley made to James four years ago: Come to Miami, be part of something special, and compete for titles every year.

COACHING STAFF: There hasn't been turnover in Miami's coaching staff and front office since James joined the Heat. He's played for just one coach, Erik Spoelstra, and Riley has championship pedigree.

OWNER: Unlike the situation with Gilbert, there's no rancor with Heat owner Micky Arison. The Heat have preached a family approach to everything, even allowing members of James' inner circle access to the locker room and other team areas - no minor thing within the framework of the Heat culture.

BIG 3: James came to Miami in large part to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, both of whom also are free agents. It's hard to envision Bosh staying if James leaves. It's easy to see both Wade and Bosh recommitting instantly, if James decides to stay in Miami.

MIAMI INVESTMENTS: His wife has a juice bar in South Beach and James is said to be investing in a chain of pizza restaurants, among other investments. It's not lifelong ties like the ones in Ohio, but ties to South Florida nonetheless.

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It's easy to see why James is torn.

Whether it was one of Gilbert's planes coming to South Florida, or movers packing up James' luxury cars from his Coconut Grove, Florida home, or reports that a cupcake shop in Ohio had heard from people that James had already decided to return to Cleveland, any nugget of information sets the rumor mill into overdrive.

But James' camp says it has all the information it needs to make a decision.

The ball, as it so often is, is now in LeBron James' hands.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
moooooooooochelle July 10 2014 at 11:42 PM

ANOTHER ABANDONED WELFARE BABY DONE GOOD

Flag Reply +5 rate up
zrsz1 July 11 2014 at 8:13 AM

i made my decision a few years ago. I decided I no longer give a rat's ass about any player on any team in any professional or college sport.

I've decided they're all ********.
I've decided that if it wasn't for the nba and nfl, our jails would be even more full than they are now.
I've decided they're all over paid malcontents who'd be working 3rd shift at 711 if the couldn't shoot, throw, hit a baseball etc.
I've decided to stop wasting my time and this here.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
champion432 zrsz1 July 11 2014 at 8:48 AM

Nice speech lol. U decided to stop caring yet your online looking at where lebrons going. Lmao stfu.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
zrsz1 zrsz1 July 11 2014 at 10:56 AM

champion,,I wrote that because of how much it pisses me off

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Victor July 11 2014 at 4:31 AM

Hope he gets the heck out of Miami

Flag Reply +3 rate up
g23you2012 July 10 2014 at 5:07 PM

I hope he chooses Cleveland.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
budman5719 g23you2012 July 11 2014 at 12:08 AM

I don't, and I live in cleveland. we have more then enough arrogant ass holes here now. what do we need another one for/

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
liyorkyoh budman5719 July 11 2014 at 8:30 AM

I'm with you. The way he left let him stay gone. We can't win with him or wthout him so who cares? The League is the only one that cares not us fans in Cleveland!

Flag 0 rate up
champion432 budman5719 July 11 2014 at 9:05 AM

Thats because u cleveland fans have no clue whats best for your team. The league isnt thinking about how he left before. He was young....he wanted to try another option. Get over it. And i like how u have no faith for your team at all. "We cant win with him or without him". You pretty much just said no matter what ur team sucks. Im from new jersey and im routing for lebron to go to cleveland. Your team might actually make it to the finals.....and win it... Is that not what u want? You would rather lose?

Flag 0 rate up
hopcats9 g23you2012 July 11 2014 at 12:55 PM

He is making a big mistake the way you treated him was terrible now you put out tee shirts with forgiven you are all a bunch of hipocrites and idiots .Karma will get you all .

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bob July 11 2014 at 1:11 AM

I had enough already with Labron James drama. He is holding the whole free agency process up for everyone.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
basesport July 10 2014 at 5:13 PM

I don't care if this a-hole plays for my Middle School Junior Varsity. GO SOMEWHERE, *******, AND LEAVE US ALL OUT OF IT. Who the Hell cares?? He's a guy who plays a fricking GAME! Damn it, already. CHOOSE SOMETHING AND SHUT THE F UP.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
3 replies
thuff31564 July 11 2014 at 9:15 AM

This guy is all about bein a drama queen. So sick of hearing about this guy.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Bob July 11 2014 at 9:26 AM

It appears that he does not know whether he is coming or going. His ball cap is on backwards?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
rmjrburton July 11 2014 at 7:25 AM

Who cares about this idiot. Only the free loaders.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ikibobo July 11 2014 at 10:34 AM

Great idea! Give these "athletes" more money! I've said this before and I'll say it again....athletes are paid vulgar amounts of money for "PLAYING A GAME". This guy is just one of many who probably can't read a book. Let's see his resume!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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