Cavs Still Believe They Can Convince LeBron Back

Despite all signs pointing towards LeBron James returning to the Miami Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers have not given up hope they can convince him to come back.

According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cavs are using Dan Gilbert‘s willingness to spend as the focal point of their pitch to LeBron:

The Cavs know how much James and his wife, Savannah, love being in Northeast Ohio. He spends plenty of time at his Bath home in the summer, and the Cavs will try to convince him of the merits to return here permanently.

Perhaps more importantly, they’ll try to sell him on Gilbert’s deep pockets. The history between Gilbert and James is all-too-well documented. Gilbert’s letter in the hours after James’ departure four years ago did significant damage to the relationship, but what can’t be denied is Gilbert’s willingness to spend.

If given the opportunity, the Cavs will remind James how the Heat parted ways with Mike Miller last summer in what was strictly a cost-cutting move. Miller’s release under the amnesty provision saved Heat owner Micky Arison about $15 million in tax penalties. On top of that, the Heat never used their midlevel exception to replace Miller or give the Heat another weapon.

It’s a sound approach from the Cavs, especially since LeBron is essentially waiting to see what the Heat do to improve their roster before he makes a decision.

But where the Cavs plan falls apart is their failure to recognize the difference between the willingness to spend, and the ability to spend wisely. It’s something LeBron surely has taken note of since leaving Cleveland for Miami.

Gilbert may be willing to cut the checks, but how he’s spent the money should be concerning to LeBron. One example: the team re-hired head coach Mike Brown last summer, and signed him to a five-year deal for $20 million. A year later, they fired Brown again and are now on the hook for the remaining four years of his contract.

This, of course, goes all the way back to when LeBron was still with the Cavs. The team spent $70 million on Larry Hughes to be his running mate. They wasted years with LeBron on the roster because of their inability to surround him with a capable supporting cast. That’s the primary reason he left in the first place.

The willingness to pay the luxury tax may be an appeal, but only if you’ve proven to be prudent spenders and capable of putting together a strong team with all that spent money. The Cavs did not do that while LeBron was in Cleveland, and they’ve been subpar in their rebuilding efforts since his departure — how else to explain three No. 1 picks in four years?

All of this assumes Gilbert and the Cavs will even land a meeting with LeBron. He’s patiently waiting to see what Pat Riley does to improve the Heat after this past season’s Finals annihilation. In the meantime, suitors for LeBron are being directed to his agent, Rich Paul.

Unless something drastic changes in the next week, the Cavs may not even get the meeting they so very much desire with their former franchise player. If they do, they’ll need more than just a promise to spend money to lure him back home.

(Akron Beacon Journal)

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