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LeBron James Returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

James heads home where it all started, and now expect all of the dominoes to begin falling.

LeBron James Returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers

The decision has finally been made. Officially. LeBron James is heading back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James released an essay as told to Sports Illustrated NBA writer Lee Jenkins. The story was first reported by Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops on Wednesday evening. In his essay, James told Jenkins the following:

When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.

I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.

As Sheridan had said in his story, this is a legacy move for James. He has the opportunity to rectify the error he made with "The Decision" back in 2010. He has the opportunity to bring a title to Cleveland, which would be more impressive than the two titles or four straight NBA Finals appearances he accomplished with the Miami Heat. He will be the leader of a team, albeit one that has a talented core in Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Anderson Varejao and now rookie Andrew Wiggins.

Alone, that core isn't ready. Even with James, the best player in the world, they might not be ready. He even said as much to Jenkins:

I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys.

Instead of being a "mercenary" and joining forces with two of the best players in the league, James will be able to develop a young core around himself as the centerpiece. LeBron will be the guy, and Irving, Wiggins and the rest of them can grow even more around him.

Regardless of who broke the story, James returning to Cleveland is the biggest move of the offseason and the balance of power in the Eastern Conference has shifted tremendously. Obviously, Cleveland's work isn't done yet. They will look to add more pieces, and they have already looked at bringing Ray Allen and Mike Miller on board.

Chris Bosh will likely leave Miami as well now that James is gone. The likely destination is the Houston Rockets, but their situation is up in the air with Chandler Parson's decision to sign an offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks. Carmelo Anthony was already rumored to be heading back to the New York Knicks, and that will likely happen. Dwayne Wade will likely be back in Miami as the lone member of the Big Three. 

A lot of things are going to happen in a very short time span, so be prepared for a huge swell of moves. But for now, congrats, Cleveland. 

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