Those Cleveland Cavalier fans out there that are clinging to the hope that the prodigal son will return home next summer may want to close the book on that one.
Earlier this week, LeBron James was asked where he would like to retire. His response was, "I don't want to go back to cold winters."
There are those that will argue that this has nothing to do with where he will chose to play once he is a free agent again – and I believe those people have a point – but it is worth noting what he is looking for.
If he doesn't want to spend winters in the cold after his playing career, why would he want to during?
It would be one thing if he did not have a choice, but he does. James doesn't even have to leave his current home to stay some place that is warm all year; he's already in Miami.
I do think that this is less significant than a lot of people make it out to be. These guys spend the majority of their winters in the gym practicing or playing, so they don't have much time to mess with the cold anyway. They also travel so much that they are going to experience both cold and warm climates throughout the course of a season.
It just appears that it is another thing going against LeBron returning to Cleveland next summer.
Of course it is not the only thing. The King is already on a team that is winning championships. He declared that the Miami Heat would win somewhere around seven when the Big Three had their now infamous party in Miami, well they've only won two so far. It looks like they still have work to do before he can ship off, unless he plans on lying to the Heat fans too.
The truth of the matter is, James has almost the best possible scenario in Miami.
He is in a destination city where free agents want to come play. This does not take into account that they would be playing with the best player in the world, who happens to like to set up his teammates before scoring himself.
It is true that Miami has had issues during their title runs, but those are issues any other team in the league would trade for. Dwyane Wade is getting older and cannot be as much of a Robin to LeBron's Batman with each passing year, but he is still Dwyane Wade and that's better than James would find many other places.
Even as Wade slows down, the organization is continuing to build around James, something the Cavaliers failed to do. The team just signed former number-one overall pick Greg Oden this offseason and he is being considered an afterthought on this roster.
Yes, Oden has had injuries throughout his short career, but all reports are that he has taken the time to get his body right. If he is half the player he was coming out of Ohio State, the Heat have found themselves someone who can battle down low in the playoffs, something they have been missing.
Cleveland has built a good nucleus, but would James really fit into it? LeBron is someone who likes to have the ball in his hands, a point-forward as they call it. If he runs the offense, what do the Cavaliers do with Kyrie Irving?
The Los Angeles Lakers have shown what happens when a talented point guard and player from another position team up and the point guard can't do his job. Steve Nash became a poor spot-up shooter, while Kobe Bryant cranked up his assist total. The Lakers were swept in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Obviously James would be a significant upgrade at the forward spot, but if Dion Waiters comes into his own and the players in the paint stay healthy, Cleveland doesn't need to have the most dominate three position. They will be able to hurt teams other ways.
If LeBron decides to opt out of his contract in the summer of 2014, he will have suitors galore. There might be some appeal of repairing bridges he burned when he took his talents south, but is that enough to top what other places – mainly where he already is – can offer?
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