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LeBron James: Why NBA Star Should Choose Cleveland Cavaliers Over Miami Heat This Summer

Yahoo Contributor Network
LeBron James: Why NBA Star Should Choose Cleveland Cavaliers Over Miami Heat This Summer
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LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

COMMENTARY | LeBron James made the right move the day he left Cleveland for the Miami Heat.

Two championship rings in three years, with the chance for a third this season, can confirm that.

This summer, James can opt out of his contract and become a free agent. The Miami Heat are overwhelming favorites to re-sign James, but are they his best option going forward?

Believe it or not, the Cleveland Cavaliers could be a better long-term fit for James. This isn't a personal plea for his return, nor is it an endorsement of such a move. Rather, this is a look into the future while keeping an eye on what has brought James championships in the past.

Here's why Cleveland could actually be better for James' continued title pursuit than Miami.

The NBA is a league driven by star power. Going back to the 1990-91 season, superstars like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and LeBron James have combined to win 18 of the 23 NBA titles.

It wasn't until James teamed up with two other stars in Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade that he was able to win his first ring. With so many stars on other teams also pairing up, James is forced to do the same.

Given their age and Wade's ever-growing list of injuries, how long can both still be considered stars?

At the end of a five-year extension with the Heat, Bosh will be 35 years old. His numbers have already begun to tail off, as he's averaging just 16.9 points and 6.8 rebounds a game this season. The Heat are being forced to pay maximum money for this kind mediocre production due to Bosh's inflated contract.

Wade is already 32 and hasn't even hit the 70-game mark in three years. He'll be 37 at the end of James' next contract, if he hasn't already retired by then. Wade's scoring has dropped each of the past five years as he just accumulates more bumps and bruises.

In Cleveland, the Cavs have a young core just starting to grow into their prime. Kyrie Irving is already an All-Star starter and MVP at age 21. He and James showed great chemistry together during All-Star weekend and James praised his talent saying:

"He's a very special basketball player, very smart basketball player -- his ability to shoot the ball, get into the lane, make shots around the rim. He has the total package. I've always known that, always witnessed that ever since he was in high school. I'm extremely happy for him, extremely proud for him to win this award."

The Cavs also have Dion Waiters (22 years old), Tristan Thompson (22), Tyler Zeller (24) and Anthony Bennett (20) to grow around James. Veterans like Anderson Varejao and Jarrett Jack will still be under contract, while Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes could also be brought back.

Cleveland can add talent through the draft around James, as they own three first-round picks in 2015, including Miami's. The Heat also owe future draft picks to the Boston Celtics in 2016 and Atlanta Hawks in 2017.

James' return to Cleveland would also make for a tremendous legacy. All of the hate and criticism he took from around the basketball world for leaving would quickly be diminished with the Cavs' first NBA title.

Right now, there's no question Miami is and has been the best place for James to be.

Looking ahead to the next five years as his game slowly begins to wear down, James will need a young star to help carry a team with.

Signing in Cleveland with the Cavaliers would give him just that.

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Greg Swartz is an avid hoops fan who covers the NBA on the Yahoo Contributor Network and Bleacher Report. You can find a collection of his articles here and join him on Twitter for more NBA news.

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