Chances for LeReturn to Heat this summer? Zero and none


There are two crazy ideas floating in the NBA netherworld now that games are done and an idle vacuum consumes us:

1. Golden State should have a play where four teammates link arms in a circle around Stephen Curry, who can then shoot an uncontested jumper.

2. LeBron James could end up with the Heat again.

They might as well put these three idle weeks when LeBron toys with his future on the sports calendar. What will he do? Where will he go next? What nonsense will be dragged out over another three weeks?

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, who first reported LeBron coming to the Heat in 2010, says the Heat are one of seven teams LeBron will have a conversation with. That's the spark that has people talking of it. And who wouldn't love LeReturn?

Heat President Pat Riley would empty the roster for LeBron, if that were possible. He'd probably like to empty the roster, period. That's a conversation for another day. Any conversation with LeBron would go like this:

LeBron: "I'll have a better cast in Cleveland."

Pat Riley: "We still have better winters."

Why would LeBron return to the Heat? When he came in 2010, it wasn't just through years of planning, connect-the-dots scheming and an aligning of planets. Dwyane Wade was still in his prime, not the 36 he is now.

Pat Riley plotted a year ahead of time by having a roster of expiring contracts so Wade, LeBron and Chris Bosh could fit. The Heat are so snugly against the salary cap right now it's uncomfortable to see how they can improve the team at all.

They can't add a player without subtracting a contract. And it's hard to envision them subtracting any of their contracts without getting an equally burdensome one in return.

So how are they going to effectively clear $35 million in cap room to sign LeBron? (Or, say, $20 million, if he'd take a discount). He can essentially force a trade to the Heat or any team. But, again, what team would LeBron have in Miami?

Nor does it get into whatever back-burner emotions LeBron and the Heat powers have with each other. This could be solved with a Dr. Phil session, of course. And it should. Come on, it's about time. Those were four great years for all (OK, three. The fourth year together was joyless.)

Riley recently said LeBron was right to return to Cleveland and how he sent a text after LeBron took the court in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals to, "Win this and be free." So it's obvious Riley has let go of the dark emotion of LeBron leaving.

That's different than LeReturn, though. Again: Why would he? He can stay in Cleveland, add someone to Kevin Love, win the East and have a puncher's chance against Golden State.

He can win more in Houston or build a team with Paul George and the Los Angeles Lakers' young talent. He could conquer New York with the Knicks. He could join a rising team in Philadelphia or Boston.

All are better basketball spots than the Heat right now. The only flimsy motive would be what Wade said on a recent radio show about LeBron not making The Decision III based on purely basketball reasons. Family matters. Growing children matter.

So maybe basketball won't be the prime reason for LeBron. It's hard to believe it won't be a significant reason, though. Still, if it's only about family, it's hard to see him leaving Cleveland at all, isn't it?

Cleveland even fits into LeBron's idea of owning a team someday. The full community would bring pressure on Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to sell — if, of course, LeBron stays there to the end. If not, they'll burn his jersey again.

LeBron has offered no clues as to what he's thinking. He seems to enjoy this centerpiece where American sports focus on his future — the U.S. soccer team even missed the World Cup to add to his focus.

You don't need to know where he'll go to know the Heat isn't just a long shot. It's a no shot. We're better off designing plays for Curry to shoot in a protected circle of teammates.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins trains with Deshaun Watson
Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins trains with Deshaun Watson

Projected 2018 Ohio State starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins trained Saturday with Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson. Quarterback trainer Quincy Avery facilitated the workout and posted the training session on social media, along with incoming Georgia freshman quarterback Justin Fields. Haskins has worked with Avery and NFL players before...
Mexico’s 2-1 victory over South Korea silences critics
Mexico’s 2-1 victory over South Korea silences critics

The criticism of Mexico’s national team heading into the World Cup was loud and scathing. The answer has been emphatic. Mexico won its second straight match at the tournament Saturday, beating South Korea 2-1 to move ever closer to a spot in the round of 16. “We didn’t listen to the criticism,” said Javier Hernandez, one of...
BREAKING: South Georgia athlete commits to Auburn over Tennessee, Florida State
BREAKING: South Georgia athlete commits to Auburn over Tennessee, Florida State

AUBURN, Ala. — Jashawn Sheffield had a clear plan. Sheffield, who was close to committing earlier this summer, wanted to make one more trip to Auburn with his mother before finalizing anything. He made the trip up from St. Simons Island, Ga., on Friday for his official visit. After spending the day with players...
Six-run outburst lifts Rangers to seventh straight win
Six-run outburst lifts Rangers to seventh straight win

Adrian Beltre and Robinson Chirinos homered to help Yovani Gallardo win for the first time since last July as the Texas Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins 9-6 Saturday. Delino DeShields had two hits and drove in two runs for the Rangers, who have won a season-high seven in a row. Eddie Rosario homered and drove in four runs, Logan Morrison homered and...
3-star offensive tackle includes 6 Pac-12 schools in top 8
3-star offensive tackle includes 6 Pac-12 schools in top 8

Troy Fautanu, a 3-star offensive tackle from Henderson, Nev., has released his top 8 schools. Six schools from the Pac-12 — Cal, Utah, USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington — made the cut. Fautanu ranks as the No. 57 offensive tackle in the 2019 class. The post 3-star offensive tackle includes 6 Pac-12 schools in top 8 appeared...
More Stories