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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Heat GM counseled Cavs GM about LeBron’s departure

LeBron James

Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman is still trying to put the pieces of his franchise back together after LeBron James chose to leave for Los Angeles, and he got some valuable advice from the one person who understands more than anyone in the world how he might be feeling.

In a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at LeBron’s latest decision and the ripple effect it has had across the league, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne revealed that Altman received a call from Miami Heat general manager Andy Elisburg the morning after James announced he will sign with the Lakers.

“I called him and said, ‘Well, did the sun come up this morning?'” Elisburg recalled asking Altman. “And he said, ‘Yes, it came up.’ And I said, ‘Well, I just want to let you know it’s going to come up tomorrow too.'”

Elisburg said he was “so angry and emotional” when LeBron left Miami in 2014 that he thought he was having a heart attack. But once the initial shock wore off, he realized there was nothing he could have done to change LeBron’s mind. He relayed that message to Altman.

“I came in the next day around 9, 10 o’clock in the morning, went to the whiteboard, started putting down names and building the roster like we’d always done,” Elisburg told Altman. “You have to realize, it always ends. It never ends the way you want it to end, but it ends, and you have to start again.

“But no matter what, it was an incredible four years. You won a championship, you know? Nothing takes that away.”

Altman said he appreciated Elisburg’s words of wisdom.

“He said he wouldn’t have given up his four years with him for the world, and I feel the same way,” the Cavs GM said. “To have four years of the Finals under my belt and the experience of working with the best player maybe ever … it’s incredible.”

Bad breakups always involve intense emotions, and we saw the most infamous example of that when Cavs owner Dan Gilbert blasted LeBron with his infamous letter in 2010. Heat president Pat Riley also had somewhat of an ugly breakup with James, and it may have provided LeBron with his “secret motivation” when the Cavs won the NBA Finals two years ago. This time, it’s almost as if everyone knew what was going to happen. That probably didn’t make it any easier for Altman, but the perspective from Elisburg seems like it was helpful.

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