City Sports Report

Cleveland Conspiracy: LeBron and Gilbert’s Plan?


When LeBron James took his talents to South Beach to join the Miami Heat with ‘The Decision’ four years ago, we saw images of Cleveland Cavaliers fans burning his jersey as he became arguably the most hated athlete in professional sports.  Four years later, the prodigal son returns to his native land, to the delight of those in Ohio.  Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have stock-piled talent, acquiring the first overall pick in the NBA Draft three of the last four years.  Could LeBron and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert have planned this all along?

Those who know LeBron well praise his business acumen, and Gilbert, an NBA owner who is also the owner of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, clearly has succeeded in this arena, so one question begs to be asked: was it possible?  LeBron said in his statement released Friday through Sports Illustrated that he always saw himself returning to play for the Cavs.  “I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when.”  If he knew four years ago that he would return, could they, simply with a handshake deal, have planned this all, including the letter Gilbert wrote?  He called LeBron disloyal and cursed, deemed his decision heartless, and guaranteed the Cavs would win a championship before the Heat.  There are some, including myself, who believe Miami should have won three championships with LeBron, so the notion of them not winning at all is nonsensical, and the idea of Cleveland winning before them even more so.

But boy does Cleveland look like a winner now.  The Cavs drafted Kyrie Irving with the top pick in 2011 NBA Draft and Dion Waiters with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft.  Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins were drafted with the top pick in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and now add King James, a former top pick himself, as the leader of this talented group, with his former teammates Ray Allen and Mike Miller expected to sign as well, and you have an instant contender.

In hindsight, especially over the last week or so, it seems obvious that LeBron was headed back to Cleveland, and though it may not be as clear, James, who clearly knows how to keep a secret, and Dan Gilbert could have fooled us all to build a winner in Cleveland.  Either way, after four horrible seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers have returned to prominence and LeBron James will get a great deal of credit for it, but how much does the King deserve?  We may never know the truth, but if James was able to pull this off, he is even better off the court than he is on it.

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