LeBron James returning to Cleveland

Published on Friday, 7/11/14, at 12:38 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Four years after stunning the city of Cleveland by bolting town for Miami, LeBron James is returning to play for the Cavaliers again.

James wrote this essay for Sports Illustrated explaining his decision.

It was a much different story four years ago. At the time, James was an attention-starved diva that had a lot of growing up to do. He went about things in the wrong way, just as I explained in this story on VegasInsider.com.

He returns with a pair of NBA Championships, going 2-for-4 in a quartet of NBA Finals appearances. Still, LeBron had to go team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to earn those titles, going about it in a fashion unfamiliar to NBA greats like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, John Stockton and countless others.

Therefore, The Decision (Part I) will never be forgotten, but James took a huge step toward being forgiven for that with today’s developments. And I’m talking about NBA people and sports fans in general, not the city of Cleveland. OF COURSE he’s forgiven by them today — as he should be.

He inherits a young team with an All-Star point guard in Kyrie Irving and a potential superstar in recent No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins out of Kansas. Then again, Wiggins could be trade bait for a potential deal to acquire Kevin Love. Plus, the Cavs own three first-round picks for next year, each of which can be dangled in any trade conversations.

The reaction from Las Vegas and at offshore books was swift. The Cavs are now the +450 favorites to win the 2014-2015 NBA title at Sportsbook.ag. The Thunder and Spurs, who recently destroyed the Heat in five games, share the next-shortest odds at 6/1. Miami is now a 100/1 longshot.

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