ESPN has a useful tool on its website called the NBA Trade Machine. It allows normal people to pretend to be a GM for a while and make trades around the league just to see if they would work, financially.
Of course the tool isn’t perfect. You can’t include draft picks, which can be essential in finalizing deals. Also, just because a trade can work doesn’t mean anyone in real life would actually agree to it. But the tool is fun to use, especially in moments of chaos like Friday afternoon.
The city that now adores him had given its loyalty to Gilbert back in 2010, in the wake of The Decision. Cleveland fans applauded Gilbert for saying out loud (in comic sans, of course) what was in their hearts.
James chose to go back to work for that man, in the city that embraced him.
Not that it turned out to be a bad tradeoff. James’ image is starkly different than it was seven years ago — pretty normal for anyone passing from his mid-20s to early-30s, in sports or anywhere else. Mission accomplished for the championship, his place in Cleveland lore and in its heart. Nothing Dan Gilbert says or does now can take that away.
But everybody had to hope the bill was not going to come. It’s here. The owner went owner again.
There should never have been so much as a crevice opening up for James to ever play anywhere else. Now, it’s too easy to see a door flung wide open. This time, nobody would blame him. They know better now.