The Cleveland Cavaliers will have what looks to be their best team ever when they begin their season on Oct. 30. On paper, it's hard to argue against the 2014-15 edition of the Wine and Gold Express. You have LeBron at the sustained peak of his powers to go with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in their primes, some young depth in Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova and Dion Waiters as well as useful vets like Anderson Varejao, Mike Miller, James Jones and maybe Ray Allen.

On paper, that looks better than the 66-win 2008-09 roster starring LeBron, Mo Williams, Ben Wallace, Varejao, a mostly healthy Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Delonte West. Of course, as we know all too well, paper and reality diverge whenever we think we have it figured out. (Ask the 2012-13 Lakers.)

Yet what's interesting about this revitalization in Cleveland is how it required LeBron to leave. It's really a tale about rebuilding in the NBA.

If LeBron stayed with Cleveland in 2010, the Cavaliers could have added a major piece of help. All teams in the league planned around 2010 -- well, all of them but the Lakers and Celtics, who gleefully battled each other for titles while everyone else jockeyed for the free agent thunderdome. There were rumors back in 2010 that if LeBron stayed in Cleveland, the Cavaliers might pull Amar'e Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki or a fella named Chris Bosh. Instead, LeBron dithered a bit and made it clear he was considering leaving, everyone else signed and Cleveland struck out completely.

But imagine a world where LeBron committed to Cleveland before July 1, 2010. Imagine he'd helped recruit a co-star. Imagine they landed Bosh or Dirk, the best players in that group of targets. That'd be it. The rest of the roster would have necessarily been cheap veterans and late first-round picks, basically whoever the front office and LeBron could convince to chase rings, much like the situation had been for Miami the past two offseasons. It's unlikely the Cavaliers would have had any sort of attractive trade package to go after a third major piece, and finding that cap space would have been difficult with two max stars.

And there's no guarantee that the Cavaliers would have won a title. Miami nabbed two of them, but with a third superstar and some excellent role players. Chances are that if LeBron stayed in 2010, the Cavaliers today would have been worse off than they are.