The Fallen Empire: LeBron Spurns Miami, Returns Home to Cleveland


After holding ESPN and the sports world at large hostage for the last two weeks, LeBron James finally made his decision. He’s coming home. First broken by Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, James has decided to give Cleveland a second go. Instead of trying to finish a dynasty in Miami, the King has returned to where it all started and brings his home state the title they’ve been salivating for.

When he first left Cleveland to take his talents to South Beach fans burned his jersey, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert acted like a spurned girlfriend. He won two titles in his four years in Miami, about six short from what he, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade forecasted. Now he returns home to a roster loaded with young gunners like Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson with offensive guru David Blatt as head coach.

James is expected to sign a four-year deal and a max salary of $20 million a year. He knows that the road back to the Finals will be a long journey as the young guys learn how to play in the playoffs, something polished vets still can’t get a hold of. Still, this roster has all the potential to be great with a rising star at point in Irving, Wiggins could be molded by LeBron to be his Scottie Pippen and Waiters can return to his sixth man role where he flourished in college.

So what does this mean for the rest of the league? Bosh is in all likelihood heading to Houston to join James Harden and Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony is probably returning to New York or joining Chicago and Wade is returning to Miami all by himself. Kevin Love is reportedly “intrigued” with joining the Cavs via a trade, but it remains to be seen what Minnesota really wants for Love, having rejected some pretty solid offers already.

It seems like the power balance has been restored, with one superstar per team again in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs are the favorites to win the East, but the Bulls will be better with the return of Derrick Rose, the Pacers are still around, the Knicks can make some noise if Anthony resigns and the Nets’ vets can never be counted out. The NBA season will finally be interesting again, no more foregone conclusions that the NBA Finals will be the Miami Heat versus Team X. The biggest domino has finally fallen, time to see where the rest fall.