With the earlier Browns’ selection of Johnny Manziel in the NFL Draft and now the free agent signing of LeBron James in his triumphant return, Cleveland is the new epicenter of the sporting universe. The downtrodden sports town with a half century of championship frustration is now red-hot. ESPN will have so many reporters in northern Ohio that it will feel as if they have moved their headquarters from Bristol, Connecticut. Cleveland has always had unsurpassed sports enthusiasm, now fans from the area will have true outlets for their passion.
Las Vegas has already installed the Cleveland Cavaliers as the favorites to win the 2015 NBA Championship. The identity of his supporting cast other than Kyrie Irving remains unknown. The team already looked to be good with first overall pick Andrew Wiggins running alongside Irving. With the addition of James, the calculus may change. All of a sudden, the Cavs move into a “win now” mode. James and Irving will need complementary players to fill out a championship roster and James will be a magnet for other players desiring to join a contender. Shooters Ray Allen and Mike Miller are already possibilities. The Cavs may have another blockbuster move in the works if they decide to make a play for Kevin Love. Making a deal for Love could require the Cleveland club to part with Wiggins, who was viewed as a crucial building block until James’ new broke an hour ago.
Cleveland already was experiencing additional excitement for the Browns upcoming season with the addition of Johnny Football to the roster, including LeBron James to the mix truly moves Cleveland from a top sports town to the new epicenter of the sports universe. Hopefully, Manziel can learn how to conduct himself off the field from James. While James no doubt has an active social life, his activities on the town are never tabloid fodder. Entering the NBA straight out of high school, James has always understood the spotlight never waivers off of him. Manziel does not appear to have the same understanding. Manziel often tries to pretend he is not the center of attention. The influence of James can only benefit Manziel if their relationship flourishes.
New Cavaliers coach David Blatt must feel like a young child at Christmas. Well-known as an offensive mastermind, the Princeton product now can work his sets using the most unstoppable force in basketball. With Irving, James, and a cast of supporting shooters, Blatt will have an unbelievable host of options. After leading a limited talent Tel Aviv club to the Euro championship recently, Blatt will be able to paint an offensive mosaic that will make other teams’ coaches heads spin. Blatt already won over Irving and James will likely fall under his spell soon as well.
The news that LeBron James is returning to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers will change the NBA landscape for some time. James’ decision already was holding up roster moves throughout the league as teams and players waited to see what he would do. Now that James has moved his talents from South Beach to the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland is the new epicenter of the sporting universe.
Commentary by William Costolo