Sunday, July 6, 2014

Visceral feelings on NBA free agencies and decisions to come

The situation around a certain #6 who plays for the team that just got blown out in the NBA Finals is about 300 times less all-consuming than it was four years ago, when "The Decision" burnt its way into Cleveland's psyche the same way that other creatively named gut-punches had, from Jordan to Byner to Modell and more.

This time, it's quiet and behind the scenes by Mr. 6 that has led to the entire NBA community to assume that the "Big 3" would return to Miami next year--with some creative accounting that will let the team add a role player or perhaps a fourth musketeer. But, literally, the winds shifted so hard over Fourth of July weekend that you'd think we'd be pelted by spent fireworks shells by now. An east side Personal Trainer named Josh Teplitz started reporting with insane confidence and inside sources that #6/#23 will indeed be returning to the team that drafted him, and the deal is all but done. 

Of course nothing new happened over the weekend, until Sunday, when it reached OJ Simpson-like levels with people following planes from Detroit to South Florida with word that Dan Gilbert filed this flight plan.

And late Sunday night, the national media started feeling the same way. Let's keep in mind that none of this seems to be sourced, and certainly not on the record. ESPN's Chris Broussard:

My wife has explained to me that she thinks every Cavs fan needs a little bit of emotional counseling because of the scars left in the middle of each of our backs from four years ago, layered, of course, upon decades of previous scars. So to get the temperature of those of us who thought "Cleveland Sports Torture" was a clever name something like ten years ago, here is some emotional dumping of our state of mind right now:

Brian: Four years ago is still fresh in my mind, and it's because I was shocked. How could he go on television and brutally humiliate an entire fan base, the fan base that had supported him and defended him against legions of haters? May seem cliched now, but it's not just that he left--it's way more about how he left. Followed up by revisionist history that the other 14 Cavaliers all were a bunch of stiffs and everyone knew it, even though virtually every national writer picked the Cavs to win the 2010 NBA Championship at the end of the regular season. But ever since, all I wanted was some hint of success from the "new" Cavs, and obviously, we haven't seen it yet. And as they (kinda) say--time heals at least some wounds. I don't know if I want "The Return." I would rather win a championship without him, any day of the week. But I don't know if I'd sacrifice a chance at numerous championships on spite and hatred and bad feelings alone. 

Tom: My thought is I need apology or some type of admission he made a mistake with The Decision. If he should return and that's a big if. He needs to reconcile with Cleveland. However that happens I'm not sure. Until that does I'm not sure I can move on. At least until we are back in the NBA Finals.

Doug: As much as I refuse to believe the social media musings of rappers, personal trainers and others on the periphery of the LeBron-is-returning speculation, I would be lying if I said the prospect of James coming back didn't get me all a-tingle. It would be an enormous story on both a local and national level, serving as a huge injection of excitement for a fanbase that has "witnessed" one half-assed playoff game in the last three years. Admittedly, I harbor a dislike for James and have come to believe he's a soulless husk who happens to be the best in the world at what he does. However, I'm also a hypocrite who would give a toe - and not the pinky, either - for a Cleveland championship. 'The Return' could be the bolt from the blue that exorcises the demons of The Shot, The Drive and even The Decision once and for all.

Ryan: It sickens me to think that any true Cleveland fan would welcome LeBron back. I want a championship as much as any Cleveland fan but not this way. If LeBron came back and the Cavaliers won a title, the national headlines would read "LeBron brings first title to Cleveland'. It would all be about LeBron and what he did for this city by coming back. I've noticed some fans seem to want him to apologize...why? What will that change?? It won't change what he did and I'm sure he would make the same decision again. The only reason he will come back is if it helps his brand. Four years ago he had a chance to choose Cleveland because he wanted stay with his "hometown" and bring us our first championship, he told us to F off. Now he has another chance to choose Cleveland but this time it would be to help himself, all of Cleveland (and Dan Gilbert) should this time tell him to F off.

SamVox: For every fan threatening to disown the Cavaliers if the Prodigal Son returns, I humbly offer this parable: If you hate LeBron more than you love the Cavs, then you weren't much of a Cavs fan in the first place. Get off your hypocritical high horse; #6 ain't the first jackass you've rooted for in a Cleveland uniform, and he certainly won't be the last. Apologies if he doesn't fit the neat little narrative you envisioned when we originally plotted our victorious march to the promised land eleven years ago. For 50 years, we've witnessed failures, flaws and fuck-ups from incompetent ownerships and watched incomprehensibly-bad basketball, baseball and football. LeBron offers the opposite: an on-court ballet, equal parts beauty and aggression, and, most importantly, Ws tattooed on the chest of every fan at the Q. Friends, I'm not asking you to forgive LeBron. I never will. I'm only imploring you to forget about the pain of the past four seasons and enjoy the giant shitburger we'll feed to the national media when LeBron CHOOSES CLEVELAND.