The LeBron James Show came to town Sunday night. He brought his entire bag of tricks, too. The talcum-powder cloud. The monster-power dunks. The steel-eyed stare downs. The must-have three pointers.
The best player on the planet will bring all of it back to Oklahoma City for many years to come, but what jersey will he be wearing when he does? Even though LeBron and his Cleveland teammates beat back the home team, winning 102-89 and spoiling what could’ve been the best win in franchise history, the Thunder should hope he’s wearing Cavalier blue for many years to come. LeBron is a soon-to-be free agent. Will he head to New York or some other city with bright lights and big bucks? Or will he stay in Cleveland and be a big-time star with a small-market team? As a squad with plenty of stars in the making, Oklahoma City will soon find itself in the same place as Cleveland. It will need to sign Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, then not long after, Russell Westbrook. It will need to find the bucks to cement the franchise’s foundation. It will be a tall task, but if Cleveland can sign LeBron during the offseason, it will seem much more possible. If the Cavs can do it, then the Thunder can, too. Granted, LeBron wouldn’t be the first superstar to stay in one of the NBA’s smaller cities. Tim Duncan is in San Antonio. Dwight Howard is in Orlando. If you want to go back even further, Karl Malone and John Stockton stayed in Utah. They remained in Salt Lake City for years together, forming the nucleus of that franchise. Still, in this age of super-sized salaries, it would be a boost to a team like the Thunder for the Cavs to sign LeBron. He’s the best there is, after all. Sixty-six seconds is all you needed to see to know that. LeBron showed every part of his game during a 1-minute, 3-second stretch late in the first half. At the 1:29 mark of the second quarter, he nailed a 3-pointer. At 1:05, he snagged a defensive rebound. At 1:00, he threw down a massive dunk. At :26, he blocked Thabo Sefolosha on a breakaway. At :23: he corralled the rebound off his own block. "LeBron’s pretty good, huh?” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. Brooks said before the game that he just wanted to keep LeBron from a triple double. Boxscore: Cavaliers 102, Thunder 89