Dan Le Batard has become very well-versed on all things LeBron James over the past four years. And if you believe his take on the way LeBron left Miami to return to Cleveland, it sounds like LeBron’s people gave the Heat the runaround.
During an interview with Dan Patrick on Monday, Le Batard referred to LeBron’s decision to return to the Cavs as “masterstroke as a PR move.” He insists James made the switch more for PR than basketball reasons and even argued that LeBron’s people gave the Heat the impression the forward was staying.
Here are Le Batard’s thoughts on when LeBron made up his mind:
“Oh, it was before the end,” he told Patrick, as transcribed by The Big Lead. “I don’t think he does what he did — I don’t think he does that again to Cleveland, you know what I mean? — allows 10 days of hope, where he crushes Cleveland again. I think he knew before this. The Miami Heat have taken the high road on this, but it’s why they were behaving like a team that was going to get him — because they were misled by his guys.
“The Miami Heat were behaving like a team that was gonna get him back. They were doing everything, like they were gonna get him back. That’s because the agent for LeBron James [Rich Paul] made them feel like they were gonna get him back. You can’t have two teams behaving like they were gonna get him back.”
LeBron and his people probably were trying to leverage their situation against Pat Riley, but how could the Heat not have realized what LeBron was doing? I said the same thing Le Batard said all along — that LeBron wouldn’t give the people of Cleveland hope and not come back. His agent could have easily “leaked” some info to squash the Cavs rumors, but he never did. There was a reason for that, and Riley isn’t dumb. He had to have known.
In addition, Le Batard claimed the report about LeBron’s wife Savannah wanting him to return to Cleveland was not true.
“One thing that surprised me, and I heard it from a number of places, is that LeBron’s wife and LeBron’s mom didn’t want to actually go,” Le Batard explained. “When he was talking about going back and telling Pat Riley that he needed to talk to his family, he was talking about La Familia — the group of guys around him. … I’ve heard in too many places that Savannah actually didn’t want to go.”
We wonder if Savannah’s Instagram page tipped LeBron’s decision weeks ago, as she started a countdown to return home and seemed excited about it. In reality, none of this really matters. There was so much information out there about LeBron’s decision that we knew plenty of it would be inaccurate. The one thing I have no trouble believing is that LeBron knew he was going back to Cleveland for a while. He basically said that in his essay for Sports Illustrated.
Here’s Le Batard’s full interview on the DP Show: