This archived article was written by: Tai Justice
In the summer of 2014, LeBron James returned to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers after spending the four years prior with the Miami Heat. James announced that he was signing with the Cavs by writing a letter in Sports Illustrated about how much it means to him and that he wants to come home and win a championship for his hometown. It was very deep and emotional letter that I’m sure meant a lot to him and especially to the city and the fans of Cleveland. This was very heartwarming to everyone that followed the NBA. I remember being happy that he went home. There were millions of, “I’m Coming Home” videos. Skylar Gray even remade a verse of the song say: “I know that Cleveland awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes.” Afterwards, she said, “Welcome home, LeBron.” If he could win a championship for Cleveland it would be like something out of a movie. It seemed like the perfect move and it was made for all the right reasons, but was it really?
James left Miami after four straight NBA Finals appearances, including winning back to back, but he lost his first and last one with the Heat. The last one was in blowout fashion to the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs embarrassed the Heat, winning in five games. James had next to no help as the Heat were run off the floor. James was a free agent that summer and I think James looked at it and saw an aging Dwayne Wade and a guy in Chris Bosh that can never stay healthy and he thought he at least needed to think about things in the summer. The Cavaliers sat there, just winning the NBA Lottery again, with some already good young assets, James had to consider them.
James wanted everyone to think that his decision to go home was because he had deep down wanted to win one for the city and the tortured fans of Cleveland, but I don’t think it was. I mean, I think a little of it was, but James is smart. James has been on record several times about how much going down as one of the all time greats means to him. He went there because he thought it gave him a better chance to win than Miami did, at that point. James knew he’d control every move that the organization was going to make. He wanted that.
In the letter, James said that he knew it would be a process and that they wouldn’t get to the top right away. Oh, really, James? Literally every move that the “organization” has made since you signed there says otherwise. You could’ve waited for Andrew Wiggins to develop, you didn’t. Wiggins is a guy that could really help, especially against the Warriors. You didn’t have to trade all your future assets for JR. Smith and Timothy Mozgov, but you did. You didn’t have to fire your coach after you went to the NBA Finals and started this season thirty and twelve and then hire the guy that just happens to be a guy that’s really close to you, but you did. You didn’t have to sign Tristan Thompson to the max, so you have no possible way of signing anyone this summer, unless you make a trade, but you wanted to do that too.
Just think what could have happened if he would’ve stayed in Miami. Miami is already one of the best teams in the East without him. Sure, Wade’s on the decline, but James-Wade-Bosh-Dragic-Whiteside. With future assets, a GM in Pat Riley that’s one of the best in the League at his job and then cap space to sign..um.. I don’t know, Kevin Durant this summer? That’s a team that can actually stay on the floor with the Golden State Warriors and maybe beat them. Unlike your current team that’s about to get run of the floor once again when June hits.
Look, James, I know you wanted everyone to think that you did this because you love Cleveland, but it wasn’t. You’re already floating things out there that you might leave again this summer. James is a top seven player, but he made a huge mistake and guess what, it wasn’t even for the right reasons.