Lebron James on Friday announced that he will be coming coming back home to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the hometown team that drafted the NBA All-Star more than a decade ago, but that he left four years ago amid considerable controversy.
James’ decision came Friday in the form of an editorial apparently dictated to Sports Illustrated‘s Lee Jenkins. In it, King James detailed his longstanding ties to the Northeastern Ohio area, saying that the people there had seen him grow up and that he wanted to inspire them when possible.
James said he chose the essay/editorial format to give his decision “because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking: He and Erik Spoelstra didn’t get along…. He and [Heat team president Pat Riley] didn’t get along.”
James dismisses notions that the problem lay with the Miami Heat, instead saying that he’d “always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when.” He goes on to cite the fact that his wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl, noting that he has been thinking about raising his family in his home town.
When James left the Cavaliers in 2010, the NBA star announced his choice in a poorly received television broadcast in which he infamously said that “I’ve decided to take my talents to [the Miami Heat].”
Lebron’s second free agency period had the entire NBA holding its breath, with teams going out of their way to court King James. As the field apparently narrowed to just the Cavaliers and the Heat, the anticipation reached a fever pitch, with fans gathering outside James’ home in Ohio, awaiting word.
That broadcast drew the ire of seemingly an entire city, with fans burning Lebron’s jersey in the streets. Team owner Dan Gilbert later posted a now-infamous screed, decrying Lebron – at times in All Caps – as “cowardly” and calling him many things other than his Christian name.
That letter has since been taken down.
With James landing in Cleveland, much of the rest of the NBA’s free agent period may iron itself out in short fashion. James’ former teammate, Chris Bosh, has been torn between returning to the Miami Heat and accepting an $88 million offer from the Houston Rockets. Bosh reportedly was waiting to see if Lebron would return to the Heat, with his likely choice being the Rockets if James decided to jump ship. In joining the Rockets, Bosh would be teaming with James Harden and Dwight Howard, adding championship experience to a squad that did not live up to fans’ expectations this past season.
Bosh’s expected arrival at the Rockets will likely cause Houston to pass on matching the Dallas Mavericks’ $45 million offer to Chandler Parsons. Parsons, then, will go on to join Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler in a revamped Mavericks frontcourt.
Still to be decided is the destination of Carmelo Anthony, the other sizable name among free agents this offseason. Some have speculated that Anthony does not want his announcement to be overshadowed by Lebrons. The Knicks All-Star is rumored to be choosing between the Los Angeles Lakers and returning to the Knicks.