Don't Believe LeBron – Cleveland Is Instantly A Top Team In The East

| by Jonathan Wolfe

Warning: this is your obligatory LeBron James post of the day.

You’re probably well aware by now that Lebron James is headed back to Cleveland after four years with the Miami Heat. James was never the highest paid player on the Cavaliers during his time with the team from 2004-2010, but that’s sure to change this time around. Expect a max deal to be confirmed in the coming days.

Since your Facebook news feed is probably flooded with news about James, we won’t waste your time with another article rehashing the same details you already know. Instead, let’s look at an interesting line about championships LeBron dropped in his announcement piece for Sports Illustrated.

“I’m not promising a championship,” LeBron told Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins. “I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach.”

This statement couldn’t be more different than LeBron’s “Not one, not two, not three…” line he delivered to adoring Miami fans four years ago. Props to James for the change in rhetoric, but let’s be real: there’s no way Cleveland doesn’t instantly become one of the favorites to represent the Eastern conference in the Finals next year.

The East is the weakest it’s been in years right now, and any team with LeBron and 1-2 other decent players on it has a shot to make a deep playoff run in it. That's the expectation in Cleveland, and it should be. Indiana, Toronto, Washington, and Chicago will all present formidable challenges, but Cleveland is instantly right in the mix with the best teams in the conference.

Congrats to all the Cleveland faithful, who are probably googling “how to unburn jerseys” right about now. Those who were stubborn (smart?) enough to keep their old LeBron jerseys are no doubt doing this today: