A ballad to leave Cleveland broken hearted

There are many reasons to be sad that George Jones is no longer with us.

The country music legend had a brilliant voice, and his yearning vocals created a string of melancholy classics.

And, if he were alive today, he could write and record a song about the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James.

If you think about it, the story has all the trappings of a strong Jones’ ballad.

Have someone special? Check.

Someone special leaves you? Yep.

That person goes on to happiness and success with someone else? This writes itself.

The song’s narrator continues to be teased by the notion that person one day will return. And, yes, it’s basically “She Thinks I Still Care” with an NBA twist.

As many of you probably are aware (though it’s hard to say how many because it’s baseball season, our area is in the midst of a particularly strong prep spring sports campaign and Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are getting married) the Cavaliers won this week’s NBA draft lottery.

For the third time in four years, Cleveland will have its choice of any player it wants from next month’s selection.

As soon as it was announced the Cavs got the top pick, the “LeBron is returning” narrative picked up steam.

James, still the best player in the NBA, can opt out of his deal with the Heat this summer and become a free agent again. As is his style, he’s dropped hints about returning to play in the area where he grew up, and some Cavs’ fans – beaten down by four of the worst seasons in recent memory – have embraced the idea.

They shouldn’t.

I’ve never believed LeBron would come back to Cleveland, and I still don’t – how many young men rush to leave South Florida to ply their trade in Northeast Ohio in February?

Plus, if the Heat win the NBA title – and I believe they will – LeBron will have a chance to do something not even Michael Jordan ever did: Win four straight championships.

But besides all that, another No. 1 pick presents an opportunity for the Cavaliers to rebuild their franchise. Pair college stars Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid with Kyrie Irving, and you’ve got something for the future. You can build a great team, and not just around a great player.

And I have to admit, I have this nagging feeling about what might happen if LeBron surprises and does return.

He’s 29 and has been playing for 11 seasons. He’s more beat up. He returns and the Cavs don’t win a title.

Who gets the blame for that? Not LeBron, he’s got his rings.

Cleveland will get the blame, again. And not just the organization, but this so-called cursed city.

I don’t know George Jones’ entire catalog, but I’m sure he has a song that can relate to that.