|Cleveland could host the 2016 or 2017 All-Star Game. How would LeBron be received? (Getty Images)|
Commissioner David Stern and Adam Silver confirmed Saturday that New York and Brooklyn have entered bids to host the 2015 All-Star Game. But a Midwest team has eyes on the festivities after that.
Ohio.com reports Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert confirmed that Cleveland is preparing a bid for 2016 or 2017. And the league has already visited on site to check on the various facilities and resources involved. From Ohio.com:
The Cavaliers are expected to submit a proposal to bring the NBA All-Star Game back to Cleveland during either the 2016 or 2017 season, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert told the Beacon Journal.
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver visited Cleveland last week to explore the feasibility of bringing the All-Star Game back to the city and encouraged the Cavs to bid on a future game.
“We had a great experience when we were there in '97,” Silver said. “We would love to return to Cleveland.”
And Gilbert would love to have them.
“The league is very receptive and open to it,” Gilbert said. “As soon as this [All-Star weekend] is over, we'll start talking more seriously about it.
“The city would be unreal. It would be a great weekend.”
Let's just go ahead and put this up front.
LeBron James has an opt-out in the summer of 2014 and 2015 to enter free agency. There have been rumors, rumblings, whispers, chatter (whatever word you want to describe people around James' tight-knit entourage and inside the Cavs talking off-record) about how James would consider opting out for a return to Cleveland.
That of course means giving up on the Heat's title chances, which could be for either a second or third title with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and giving up $20 million which he cannot get due to the new CBA anymore.
But it's an interesting question here, because if James does not leave, how will he be treated in Cleveland? Will fans have forgiven him for the Decision by then? (Unlikely.) Will they try and woo him to return in free agency when his contract does expire? (Unlikely fans think that long-term.)
Outside of that, it would be a good thing for the league to put it in Cleveland. Kyrie Irving will be a full-fledged star by then, much as Chris Paul was in 2008 when the game came to New Orleans. It shows small markets that they too can host the weekend, which is a good-faith sign.
It will garner a lot of jokes from the media, but it could also surprise a lot of people.