LeBron’s True Plan for Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers

by Ryan Isley (Originally posted on November 1, 2014)

LeBron James just might be in the midst of his greatest plan yet. And so far, he has played it perfectly.

It all started by saying he wished he should have handled “The Decision” differently. Then he began dropping little hints over the past couple of seasons that he might be interested in a return to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers. His next move was to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat, which he did. This of course led to speculation of a return. Then on July 11th, speculation turned to reality with the letter he wrote in Sports Illustrated to announce his return to the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland.

The four-time NBA MVP continued to do and say the right things when he mic-dropped at his welcome home party in Akron.

After that, it was on to the commercials. He did one for Beats by Dre, where his mom Gloria James narrates about his return home. There was the Sprite commercial that chronicled LeBron’s first true home game at Patterson Park in Akron. And then the big one dropped just hours before LeBron and the Cavs took the floor for their regular season opener. It was a Nike ad all about Cleveland and coming together.

It all felt too good to be true. And it is. Because it is all just a hoax. No, LeBron’s plan is not to bring the city of Cleveland a championship. It never was. His real plan is to ensure that Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert NEVER wins one. This is all an elaborate plot to set up Gilbert and exact his revenge for Gilbert’s letter from 2010.

You think LeBron has forgotten about that letter? The one where Gilbert called him “THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’” and called what LeBron did a “shameful display of selfishness and betrayal”? Oh, LeBron hasn’t forgotten. Nor has he forgiven. He also doesn’t forget the way he was treated by the majority of Cleveland fans and media after he left. Those same people who are right back to supporting him now. But he remembers their true colors.

LeBron has reeled everyone into his trap, Gilbert included. He has put his plan in place and all of the pieces have fit like a glove. His goal is to completely sabotage Gilbert and the Cavaliers and make sure the cupboard is all but empty when he leaves, sans NBA championship.

Remember when LeBron signed a two-year deal with the Cavs and people were worried that it might be so he can leave again following the 2015-16 season? Yeah, all part of the plan. That trade for Kevin Love? Part of the plan.  But the part that worked out even better than LeBron could have hoped this offseason was that the Cavs gave up Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins, plus a first round draft pick to get Love. That’s right – the Cavs traded the last two number one overall draft picks who are 21 and 19 years old, respectively.

That’s when LeBron’s plan went into overtime. After the Love trade, LeBron talked Love into not signing an extension, even though Love’s contract expires after this current season. The two have discussed the plan, and Love will be leaving after one season in Cleveland. After all, that letter not only hit home with LeBron, it resonated throughout the league with players. He also had to talk Tristan Thompson into not accepting a longer deal with the Cavs, so Thompson could become a restricted free agent. That way, the Cavs will probably have to overpay to keep the 23-year-old they took with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft.

Now, think back to those commercials we discussed earlier. Sure, the last one was all about the city of Cleveland, but the first two were focused on LeBron’s hometown of Akron. This comes as no surprise, as LeBron has supported his hometown even when he was a part of the Miami Heat. This part of the plan was never questioned, but sent a message nonetheless. LeBron was returning, but cared more about making sure Akron was taken care of than making sure Cleveland was helped.

LeBron even took the step of making a nice gesture of wearing a Browns hat when he attended a Browns game a few weeks ago and has made appearances at Browns practices. Again, this part of the plan came easily, because he is friends with Johnny Manziel, so nobody gave a second thought that this might be just some sort of scam. But LeBron doesn’t care about the Browns. Just like he doesn’t care about the Indians. Hell, he wasn’t even a Cavs fan in his youth. It is well-documented that LeBron is a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and of course Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. So why care about Cleveland teams now? It isn’t because he is happy to be back, it is to pull more fans into his web. And it has worked.

The toughest part of the plan though? Actually making sure that the Cavs don’t win a championship with the team they put on the floor every night. This explains his 5-for-15 shooting and eight turnovers in the season opening loss to the New York Knicks. He led the Cavs to a win over the Bulls on Friday night, but still shot under 50%. All part of the plan. LeBron isn’t going to lose games on purpose, but will do just enough to make sure this team isn’t the number one seed in the Eastern Conference when the playoffs begin.

The playoffs will be where he pulls off the best part of the trick. The Cavs will be a favorite by many to win the championship, but LeBron is going to make sure the Cavs lose in the first round not only this season, but next season. That way, the team makes the playoffs which means they can’t get into the NBA Draft Lottery with a chance at a high draft pick but they also bow out of the playoffs early without a shot at a title.

After their first round exit in 2016, LeBron will announce that he is not going to sign long-term in Cleveland and will take his talents elsewhere to continue his pursuit of championships. While he will join a team that is already championship ready, the Cavs will be stuck worse than they were in 2010. Imagine the letter that Gilbert will write in the summer of 2016. And to think – had he not written the one in 2010, LeBron would have never launched this plan for revenge.

Revenge is a dish best served cold. And LeBron James is serving up a frozen cup of it for Dan Gilbert.

(Obviously, you guys realize this is just a joke, right? I in no way believe LeBron has actually hatched a plan to set up Dan Gilbert for the ultimate revenge – Ryan.)

Comments? Questions? You can leave them here or email Ryan at ryanisley23@gmail.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter @isley23.

 

 

 

 

 

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