As gold Cristal was soaking the Golden State Warriors in their locker room at Oracle Arena in Oakland the Cleveland Cavaliers were breaking down in tears of sorrow after losing game five 129-120, and the series 4-1 in The Finals.
There would be no miracle this time as star guard Kyrie Irving’s surgically repaired knee began to ache, his back tightening and their grip on their one NBA championship loosening, it was over.
For LeBron James the harsh reality didn’t settle in until the final minute, he had left it all on the court becoming the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double in The Finals (33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists).
Coach Ty Lue couldn’t even muster up the words for his post game speech to his players before chocking up, Cavs fans throughout Northeast, Ohio maintained their proud purpose of supporting their beloved Cavaliers.
Winning the first championships in a title starved city in nearly a half century will do that to you. Going from we can’t believe to always believing is a delicate transition.
LeBron has played in eight Finals, four with his hometown Cavs and he knows all to well just how difficult it is to win a championship.
He watched a young Warriors team celebrate as if it’s a foregone conclusion that this is the way it’s going to be for a while.
LeBron conceded they are indeed built for the long hall with MVP Kevin Durant, two-time league MVP Steph Curry, sharp shooting Klay Thompson and the boisterous Draymond Green all in their mid 20s this could be a dynasty.
So, where do the Cavaliers, with the highest payroll in league history go from here? One might say Dan Gilbert didn’t get his money’s worth.
The core of LeBron, Irving, Love, Tristan Thompson and JR Smith are all locked up for next season and beyond. LeBron will be playing on the final year of his contract next season and could leave again.
While the world’s greatest player is not even remotely offering any hints as to what he will do, it seems quite unlikely that he would bolt again just when his son is about ready for high school.
However, some are already resigned to the fact that he will go to Los Angeles which on the surface seems far fetched, but so too did The Decision years ago.
One thing is for certain, this Cavs team as it is currently constructed is not going to beat the Golden State Warriors in a seven game series.
It took a record shattering performance to win the one game they did, and it would be foolish to think that would happen again. Duh, that why it made history.
Lue feels the Cavs are not that far off from the Warriors, but that too is fools gold considering the Warriors won games when they did not play their best.
Cleveland will have to think long and hard if Kevin Love is that third wheel, or if he’s the Achilles' heel. He had a meager six points in the close out game, after not showing up the year before.
Do the Cavs trade Kevin Love? That is going to be the lingering question going into the off season.
If so, who do you want in return? If it’s Paul George of Indiana, then he would be a one year rental unless he had assurances that LeBron was staying.
Can LeBron convince his buddy Chris Paul to leave Los Angeles and $200 million on the table for a shot at a ring?
Can the Cavs add Carmelo Anthony without surrendering Love, and if so can Lue make that combination of ball hogging superstars work.
Could Derrick Williams emerge and finally live of to his lofty potential as a No.2 draft pick ?
So many questions and too few answers, we do know that LeBron and all of the Cavs fathers will celebrate the remarkable journey it’s been.