But this is as far as I’ll go with guarantees before the LeBron Sweepstakes officially begin: James will not feel as though he owes Cleveland anything after these last four seasons.
Not after the Cavaliers responded to the Warriors’ addition of Durant by chasing off their accomplished general manager David Griffin and giving in to the All-Star guard Kyrie Irving’s trade demand in August.
Nor after everything James said in his unforgettable “I’m Coming Home” essay he co-wrote with Lee Jenkins for Sports Illustrated in July 2014.
“My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question,” James wrote. “But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.”
One is all he managed, true, and that number will be recorded as an unmitigated disappointment on some scorecards out there.
But one was all he promised.
So LeBron can leave now, knowing that he lifted the Cleveland Curse in 2016 by teaming with Irving to lead the Cavaliers to the first resurrection from a 3-1 finals deficit in league history. It was Cleveland’s first major sports championship since 1964 — to go with all the other ways James financially revitalized this city after returning from the Miami Heat to rejoin the team that drafted him.