LeBron won’t add more than one more championship with the Cavaliers — even that would require a titanic sinking by the Warriors in the coming years — not while he’s running with Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith.
Cleveland’s roster is good enough to win a title in almost any era; in 2017, it’s doomed. Golden State’s too good, in the same way Bill Russell’s Celtics tended to get the better of Wilt Chamberlain.
But there is another path forward, starting with LeBron’s free agency in the summer of 2018.
If James decides to stay in Cleveland, he’s admitting he’s content with his legacy as it stands. He’s giving up that ghost-chase he claimed was so important last summer, and that’s his prerogative. He’s made it clear he has nothing left to prove, after all.
Yet if LeBron has any competitive fire left in him, he needs to start laying the groundwork to leave Cleveland once again — not for Los Angeles but for a sleepy military town deep in the heart of Texas.