My take on LeBron James as a Memphis Grizzlies fan
In what could be labeled as the antithesis of LeBron James' first "Decision", LBJ casually announced his return to Cleveland in a Sports Illustrated piece this morning.
Bombs went off, Twitter broke and every other kind of social media did what it's designed to do: get everyone into a fluttering mess of pandemonium. That wick and fuel is probably still furiously burning as I type away with my Twitter tab closed, and undoubtedly overshadowing the Memphis Grizzlies Summer League Championship game for many people.
I personally love it: A lower key approach to the revelation. Retribution for all the diehard Cavs fans who were genuinely hurt by James' departure to Miami. LeBron recognizing his affinity for his home region and his desire to bring them a championship.
If such a superstar athlete were born in Memphis, TN I would feel an immense emotional connection to a player who made such a turnaround in their mentality. In that light I'm very happy for the city of Cleveland. It's a fantastical idea to think that a small market could have someone like that on their side after a bitter divorce, and to see it play out through the storyline that LBJ created is something you rarely see written in the book of life.
But what it means for the Memphis Grizzlies isn't as romantic.
The idea largely being circulated now is that Chris Bosh will likely join the Houston Rockets and that Houston will also match offers and retain Chandler Parsons. That potentially makes the Rockets another powerhouse team inside the Grizzlies' Southwest Division in the Western Conference. In fact, it would probably make them favorites to end up in the WCF along with OKC and SA, pushing Memphis further down into the mud through which we tread.
My own personal prediction now is that Mike Miller heads to Cleveland to try and win a couple more rings with LBJ. The writing was already scribbled onto the wall yesterday with the Grizzlies giving Beno Udrih the BAE and consuming a portion of the little cap space they have remaining. Who can blame him? Mike tasted the sweetness and glory of a championship and he knows he probably only has a couple of more shots at getting another. #LetHimFly
We've been saying that the Grizzlies are in a standstill while their competitors are locking and loading, and LeBron's decision to leave Miami is the first of all those damn dominoes we've been talking about for weeks now. They're going to fall now, folks, and it doesn't really look incredibly promising for the Grizzlies chances in 2014-15 (2015-16 is a different story). We can all hope as Griz fans that Kevin Love somehow ends up in the Eastern Conference with LeBron instead of ending up with another team that the Grizzlies will play 3-4 times in the regular season and possibly see in the playoffs.
But it's not as if the Memphis Grizzlies aren't a fantastic team with plenty of reasons for their fans to be optimistic. They could and very likely will improve in many areas as we head into Dave Joerger's 2nd season as head coach. Robert Pera has a vision and that includes being competitive every year and giving fans an exciting experience. Everyone is still undefeated for the 2014-15, and there's a lot that can happen between now and the start of the season let alone between now and the next trade deadline.
I choose to be encouraged by LeBron's return home. It gives me faith that these amazing athletes have sincere feelings for the people they represent. That kind of mentality can make teams accomplish the exceptional.