Tuesday Teabag, July 15, 2014 – LeBron James

I'm all in...for one year.

I’m all in…for one year.

Welcome back friends to a brand new Teabag, where we honor none other than the King himself, LeBron James.

Wait, what?  LeBron just announced, in a well-written, well-thought out essay, that he’s returning to Cleveland, to bring a “trophy back to Northeast Ohio.”  The prodigal son is returning home, to lift up the collective spirits of Cleveland (sidenote:  that’s a lot of depressed souls), and deliver a championship to a championship-starved City.  And he’s going back for all the right reasons…family, love for his hometown, role model for the kids.  How big of him to set aside the fact that the entire City said good riddance to him 4 years ago, and Dan Gilbert (Cavs owner) wrote this letter, calling LeBron’s decision “heartless and callous” and an act of “cowardly betrayal”.  Seriously, read the whole letter…it’s crazy.

Dan Gilbert Letter

Yes, his decision to return to Cleveland has more feel good moments than the Hallmark Channel.  So why then, are you giving LeBron a Teabag?  All of Cleveland is smiling for the first time since the premiere of the Drew Carey Show.  LeBron made his decision the right way, without the need of the Boys & Girls Club and nationally televised audience.  Because, our bullshit-dar, much like our ability to shotgun beers, is impeccable, and it’s running at high alert.  The gullible, neive, desperate, clinging for life loyal residents of Cleveland don’t know it, but they’ve just been played.

Sure, some of what he said it probably true.  He probably does love his hometown (note: if you were revered like a God in your hometown, wouldn’t you?) and truly does want to bring a championship to Cleveland.  But the story doesn’t end there.  No sir.  Let’s cut through the bullshit and get to the real reason why he went to Cleveland, and let’s see how much love he really has for his hometown.

Cleveland’s better than Miami

Granted, this is probably the only time in the history of the world where that statement wasn’t made sarcastically, but it’s true.  Cleveland’s roster (thanks to 4 years of post-LeBron tanking) is front-loaded with young talent like Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters…plus this year’s first round pick Andrew Wiggans.  Also, sharpshooter Mike Miller just jumped on the bandwagon, and rumor has it that Kevin Love may soon join.  All this sets up perfectly for LeBron.  He doesn’t have to log 40+ minutes/game.  He can properly rest his body and be ready for the playoffs.  He’s still in the East…the Cavs are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.

In Miami, the Heat have quickly turned into Florida retirees.  Ray Allen is 60 and D-Wade’s knees are 80.  LeBron would have a much heavier load to carry in Miami than with the Cavs.

Bottom line: he has a better supporting cast in Cleveland, so it makes sense to go back.  Do you honestly think LeBron would be back in Cleveland if Ramon Sessions and Alonzo Gee were still starters?  Hell no.

LeBron’s Contract Details

This is what really got us in LeBron Teabag mode.  He could have signed a 4 year max deal, worth $88 million.  Instead, he signed a 2 year deal for $42 million.  Why leave $46 million on the table?  There are true business reasons, including a higher cap and greater TV revenue starting in 2016.  This give LeBron the ability to sign a max deal in 2016, for a lot more than the current $88 million max deal.  However, for a guy that makes between $50 and $80 million a year in off-court endorsements, is he really that concerned about money?

But his contract isn’t really a two-year contract.  It’s really a one year contract, with a player option for a second year.  That’s right, LeBron can opt-out after next season and become a free agent all over again.  And if you don’t think he’ll leave Cleveland again…you’re fooling yourself.

His contract gives him the maximum flexibility.  Things don’t go well after year one?  He can bail.  No dramatic improvement in year 2?  He can bail (and finally join Melo in NYC).  If he really wanted to go all in, and show Cleveland he’s fully committed, he signs the max deal (and somehow learns to live with $88 million), or at least a true, two-year contract.  But a one year deal?  That’s not much love.

Cleveland = Titletown, USA?

“LeBron and Johnny Football in the same City?!?” exclaimed a Clevelander who, 4 years ago, burned his kid’s LeBron jersey in the driveway.  “Cleveland’s the new Titletown, USA!!!”

Ok, let’s knock this shit out right here.  Cleveland will never, ever…EVER, be confused with a winning City.  It will always smell like stale beer and regret.  This really doesn’t have anything to do with LeBron, just wanted to clear the air before the Northeast Ohio Chamber of Commerce mail bombs us all, touting their clean water and diverse economy.  In fact, don’t be fooled by their propaganda and, as a reminder of what Cleveland’s truly like, please watch our favorite Cleveland tourist videos.

To summarize:  Remember when your best friend went through that nasty breakup, it was the first time you saw him cry…he crashed on your couch for weeks, drank all your beer and vowed never to speak her name again?  And then remember when, awhile later over beers, he tells you, “hey, Becca and I are getting back together!”  You feign happiness for him…he’s happy the way a puppy that eats its own shit is happy…but you know that, sooner or later, that puppy realizes he’s eating shit (again), and your buddy realizes that Becca’s a whore (again).

If it was so obvious that going back to Cleveland was so magnanimous and altruistic, it wouldn’t take an essay to explain it.

Enjoy your teabag.

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