Today, LeBron James congratulated Dwyane Wade on Instagram for scoring 20,000 points in his NBA career. Wade is now a member of the 20,000-point club, joining 38 other players, including James, who is No. 13 on the league's all-time scoring list with 26,549 points.
Though Wade scored his 20,000th point in a 122-101 Miami Heat win over the Cavaliers on Saturday, James's gesture to the 13-year veteran was cordial. He is good friends with Wade, and the two have mutual respect. James is simply giving credit where it's due.
For Cavs fans who are aware of James's recent trip to Miami to work out with Wade, this gesture could appear to be another sign that James might be planning to leave Cleveland again. Cavs fans have a reasonable amount of doubt in James. The team's season has been bumpy. Sometimes the Cavs look really good and other times they look totally average. James could skip town again because of a lack of high performance.
But if he left, he'd create a public relations nightmare.
In the summer of 2014, in an essay written with Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, James told Clevelanders that he was prepared for the long process of leading the Cavs to a title. This conveyed a sense of security to Cavs fans. At the time, they felt no need to worry about James leaving again. If he did, he'd ruin his brand as all-around good person and a man of his word.
Fast forward to this season, when that sense of security has been dramatically reduced. In a shocking move, the Cavs fired coach David Blatt in the middle of the season, after Blatt had led the Cavs to a first place Eastern Conference record of 30-11.
In the aftermath, some Cavs fans called out James, believing he had been instrumental in Blatt's removal. Then-associate head coach Tyronn Lue was shortly named the new head coach of the Cavs.
Since then, the Cavs have botched a number of games, most notably their blowout loss in January to the Golden State Warriors, 132-98.
If the Cavs lose in the Finals again, fans might legitimately need to worry about the King's future plans.
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