Already in Focus: Cavs Win Title, LeBron Stays in Cleveland
He isn't going anywhere.
He isn't leaving a championship team.
And that's what the Cleveland Cavaliers will become in June.
Anything else is just dreaming, fueled by the mistaken arrogance of New York, or the fantasy world in Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant better get used to being No. 2 again.
The Lakers may be defending champs, and the Orlando Magic reigning Eastern Conference best, but the Cavs have proven through this long and winding season that neither team anymore can slow the King James Express. The once-proud Celtics have become an after-thought.
The Cavs are headed toward back-to-back, best regular-season records, a feat not accomplished since the dynasty of Michael Jordan and the Bulls in the mid-'90s.
And if they win nine of their last 11 -- and that looks like a good bet, too -- they become just the second team in league history to win 65 games in back-to-back seasons.
An NBA title for Cleveland -- and the James re-signing -- has come into focus. The upcoming playoffs will become ceremonial in the process.
The re-signing today of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and the return next month of Shaquille O'Neal to the Cavs lineup will only accentuate the Cavs dominance.
Their recent absence has helped the Cavs grow into the deepest team in the league, able now to win in different ways, yet always revolving around the best player in the game.
By the time the playoffs start, the Cavs will be able to win with a big and physical lineup, or a smaller, quicker lineup, adapting to whatever they need as the playoffs progress.
In the absence of Ilgauskas and O'Neal, J.J. Hickson has been allowed to shine. Antawn Jamison has grown comfortable around James, who is headed toward his second consecutive Most Valuable Player Award. Anderson Varejao and Delonte West off the bench are a nightmare for opponents.
Since O'Neal -- with four championship rings -- left with the broken thumb, the Cavs have won 11 of 12. After the initial shock and three consecutive losses following the trade of Ilgauskas and the addition of Jamsion, the Cavs have won 13 of 14.
They go into Wednesday night's game in New Orleans having won seven in a row and secure in the knowledge that their home court dominance (winning 29 of the last 31 in Cleveland) will carry them through the playoffs.
It almost looks too easy. It's hard to imagine how they started the season with a pair of losses.
The Cavs likely will sweep through the first two rounds of the playoffs, then lean on that home-court advantage to cruise past the Magic in the third round, setting up a much-anticipated NBA Finals that may not live up to the hype.
The Cavs have grown too well. The Lakers just aren't as hungry, anymore. It has shown throughout this season, a switch that doesn't turn on and off so easily.
James will know when he leaves the court in June holding that championship trophy aloft what his free agency choices are. And he'll know what a myth it is that going to New York will make him any bigger or better or happier.
The NBA title is coming to Cleveland. And it's going to stay there for some time.