LeBron James has made amends.
He’s gone back to his hometown.
After being spurned four years ago, the folks in Cleveland matter again. After sharp criticism from Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, an olive branch has obviously been passed and a truce has been established. Both parties want a championship for Cleveland -- a city that hasn't seen a title since 1964.
It’s a town that has had its heart broken in so many cruel ways: The Drive in 1986, The Fumble in 1987, The Shot in 1989, The Brides Maids in 1995 & 1997 (I made that one up), The Move in 1995 and The Decision in 2010.
There’s nothing fans could do about John Elway or Ernest Byner. Michael Jordan hit "shots" and spoiled title dreams for a lot of teams (ask the Utah Jazz). Every World Series has a winner and loser. The NFL let that city down when Art Modell was allowed to move it to Baltimore, but I’m not sure any of that hurt as much as one of the city’s own (Akron) tells the whole world he doesn’t want to stay.
James led Cleveland to the title series in 2007 after his Cavs dismantled the Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals. James spearheaded four straight wins in that series that included scoring 32-25-48-20 points respectively. In his career, he’s averaged 24ppg against Detroit and because of his latest decision, we get to see him a minimum four times a year. It also means the power shift in the Central goes from Indiana to Cleveland and leaves us further away from a playoff appearance.
The Pistons haven’t made the NBA playoff tournament since 2009 and even then it was suspect. They were 39-43 and handled easily by James and the Cavs in a four game sweep. James going home means he will entice more stars…or at least really good players….to tag along like maybe Kevin Love. It means as much as we want to believe Stan Van Gundy is a difference maker, he can’t overcome this. The Pistons are still the fourth best team in the division behind the Cavs, Bulls, and Pacers. They still have just ONE player who would definitely start for any of those teams (Andre Drummond). So while Lebron James going back to the Cavaliers is great for the city of Cleveland and might even be great for the NBA, but it sure doesn’t help the Pistons in their quest to be relevant in the division.
Matt Shepard is the play-by-play voice of University of Michigan basketball, Eastern Michigan University football and the Detroit Lions television network. He can also be found on TV locally on Fox Sports Detroit and nationally on the Big Ten Network for college hockey and baseball.Learn more.