Recent Cavalier newcomer Dwyane Wade said this of LeBron James last week, at his introductory news conference:
"We're just ... it's like peanut butter and jelly, man, we just go together."
And, truth be told, that comparison couldn't be more accurate.
When Wade signed with the Cavs last week, it was almost as if everything in the NBA universe seemed right again. In Miami, the two stars were inseparable, having a bond that even transcended basketball. Thier time together playing for the Heat resulted in two Championships, a movie-star-like attraction, and an experience to last a lifetime.
And now, they get the chance to do it all over again. Like in Miami, they'll get a chance to establish a culture for the Cavs, one that'll have them head-and-shoulders above the rest of the league. And, like in Miami, they'll get a chance to overcome the NBA's biggest obstacles to bring home the glory. Seriously, who could've imagined a better scenario?
But even with this fairy-tail-like story unfolding, there's still one lingering question facing the franchise and its biggest stars: how does it end?
How does it end?
Contrary to what the public believes, the answer is still very much up in the air.
See, when LeBron James returned to the Cavaliers in 2014, he joined a very different situation than the one he's in now. The roster was filled with young, budding stars. The front-office was getting better and seemed to be getting smarter. The city, the team, their love for basketball, was higher than it had ever been.
King James sparked a basketball revival in Ohio and became the area's beloved hero.
Three years later, while James did follow through on his promise to the city, the Cavs ultimately find themselves in a dangerous situation.
So much hype and excitement have been attached to the Cavaliers' upcoming season. Already, they've been hailed as the top team in the East, while being named by many as the second-best team in the league. While the public waits in awe to watch the new-look Cavs, they smile and wave to the crowd as if everything is peachy. With the new NBA season just days away, the league would have you believe that the team has everything under control.
But if control and assurance are what we're talking about, the Cavs are in deep trouble.
Short-term, most folks say this Cleveland team is the best the franchise has ever assembled. Some would even say it matches the Warriors, in terms of star power. But is that really the case?
Over the summer, the Cavs lost Kyrie Irving in a dramatic, mid-summer trade deal that lingered for way too long. And while they acquired a lot of other talented players to replace him, they are not a better team because of it.
Derrick Rose is 29 years old and hasn't been at an All-Star level since 2012. Isaiah Thomas is a great offensive scorer, but lacks size and defensive prowess, while also having to deal with a nagging hip-injury that'll sideline him for a few months. Jae Crowder is an ideal two-way role player but isn't nearly enough to carry the load when LeBron sits down. And Dwyane Wade? Well, Father time has him in a battle that the 35-year-old shooting guard is due to lose any day now.
In other words, Kevin Love is the only reliable piece of LeBron's supposed "star-studded" roster, and he hasn't averaged over 20 points per game since 2014.
Worst of all, their situation going forward doesn't look good either.
The Cavaliers fired the GM that brought this magical run together, their ownership and front-office is still a mess, Cleveland is still a small market city, Derrick Rose is on a one-year deal, Dwyane Wade is on a one-year deal, Jae Crowder has one year left on his contract, and, to top it all off, LeBron James could up and ditch town in less than ten months.
There's no promise that LeBron will stay, there's no promise that any of those guys will stay past this season. Even if they do, things are over when LeBron is no longer playing at an elite level in a couple years.
What's the plan if LeBron leaves or is too old to carry the team? Do they hand the ball to Kevin Love and say "Go get 'em, Tiger."?
But that's the thing: the Cavs don't have a plan. They don't have a future that goes beyond LeBron James. They have no answer to next summer's questions or anything that goes past this upcoming season.
Yet, if you ask just about anyone else, they're doing just fine.
They don't want the world to know how bad their situation actually is... and that's okay. They can hide their impending doom. For now, they can enjoy the glitz and glamour of being called an NBA super team. In fact, they should enjoy it.
But if they want to do this the right way, they better think about the future, or the team will come tumbling down in a hail storm of smoke and fire.