According to reports, the Cleveland Cavaliers actually have a shot – and maybe even a good one – of convincing LeBron James to come home.
Not for a visit or appearance or community event, but rather, to sign a long-term contract.
Can Cleveland actually pull this off?
“I think so,” 92.3 The Fan radio co-host Andy Baskin said on Ferrall on the Bench “They’d like to make it happen. I think when it all comes down to the end, it’s on LeBron. Does LeBron want to come back home and have the opportunity? If he does, then the door is wide open, and this city is going to welcome him with open arms. Sure, there’s some people that might be still a little bitter about The Decision, which happened four years ago today, but those people will get over it the second Kyrie Irving throws him a pass and he dunks it.”
Needless to say, Cavs fans – not to mention all of Cleveland – are following James’ every move with bated breath.
“It’s been crazy all weekend,” Baskin said. “They were following one of Dan’s Gilbert’s planes out of Detroit down to Fort Lauderdale over the weekend because it was owned by one of his subsidiary companies. This town’s going nuts. They want LeBron back. I think people are pumped. I’ve had very few phone calls from people that said, ‘No, we don’t want him back.’ You’d have to be an idiot not to want to have the best basketball player in the NBA back in Cleveland. You’d have to be an idiot.”
Just how serious is this getting? Well, remember the scathing letter that Gilbert wrote to Cleveland fans in the wake of James’ exodus to Miami? That letter was removed the team website this week.
“I got to to be honest: I think they probably forgot about it,” Baskin said. “I forgot about it. We were laughing today on the radio, like, ‘Why would they even still have it up there?’ I’m just assuming they forgot about it. I’ve got old stories that are up from 1994 on the web, and they’re still up there. I don’t know why they’re still there, either.”
And now, Cavs fans must wait. James intends to meet with Pat Riley this week to discuss the future of the Heat, including recent signees Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger. Riley can be awfully convincing, but the Cavs remain optimistic.
“I don’t know,” Baskin said. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Mark Shapiro, the Indians president, it’s that when it comes to free agency and trades, there’s only two percentages: 0 and 100. I think at the end of this thing, no matter what happens, Savannah, his wife, is going to have some kind of say in it. And I think Savannah wants to come home, and I think that’s a big part of it. This meeting with Pat Riley is huge. I think Pat Riley can talk him into staying in Miami. I think whatever happens in that meeting with Pat Riley is going to be the difference between LeBron staying in Miami or LeBron coming back to Cleveland.”
And if you want to know just how important this is to Cleveland, Baskin went ahead and put it in context.
“We had gone almost 72 hours without saying Johnny Manziel’s name – because LeBron has taken the airwaves,” Baskin said. “He’s bigger than everything. There’s very few things that trump the Browns in this town, and LeBron is one of them.”