Dan Le Batard: LeBron’s wife didn’t want to leave Miami; Heat thought he was staying

LeBron James Savannah BrinsonDan 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.

[Read more...]

NY Times has most unique LeBron James cover


Over the weekend, newspapers from across the country dealt with the challenge of trying to create a headline for LeBron James’ return to Cleveland that was both clever and original. The Cleveland Plain Dealer did a pretty good job (especially when you compare it to their front page from four years ago), but the New York Times takes the cake for most creative.

Rather than printing a massive headline with a photo of LeBron, the NY Times ran the NBA transaction log on their front page and simply highlighted the portion announcing that LeBron signed with the Cavaliers. Here’s a closer look:

No big deal, right? Just another day and another free agent signing. Let’s not get all worked up about nothing.

Photo: Twitter/Caitlin Kelly

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar skeptical about LeBron James returning to ‘betrayed spouse’

LeBron-CavsMost people feel that LeBron James choosing to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers was the right thing to do. LeBron acknowledged that he made a mistake with the way “The Decision” was handled and said he always believed he would finish his career in Cleveland. While the same fans who burned his jersey four years ago are now crying tears of joy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar doesn’t believe LeBron’s homecoming will be the fairytale ending everyone envisions.

In an essay he wrote for TIME Magazine, Abdul-Jabbar referred to Cleveland as the “betrayed spouse” and compared LeBron to a husband who leaves his wife for a younger, more attractive woman. Kareem cautioned that LeBron’s “home” has changed in his absence and is now filled with people he hurt.

To some skeptical residents, LeBron’s return to Cleveland is less that of the prodigal son’s triumphant return home than the straying husband who abandoned his longtime partner to chase a younger, hotter, firmer slice having second thoughts. Having realized he traded a deep love for a sweaty romp, he’s coming home with a bouquet of roses in one hand and a diamond bracelet in the other, begging forgiveness for his foolish mistake of lustful youth.

We’re still talking about basketball, right? That seems a bit dramatic to me. Personally, I think LeBron’s return will go as well as the Cavs play. If he wins a championship within a few years, he will be one of the most unique heroes in professional sports history. If not, he’ll be the guy who won rings but could never get it done for his home state.

Still, Abdul-Jabbar kept the romantic relationship metaphors rolling.

When LeBron left Cleveland he celebrated it as the Exodus from Egypt and enslavement, and that arrogance left a bitter taste in his fans’ mouths. It was like showing up at a party with his new girlfriend when he knew his ex would be there. Tacky. Even his return to Cleveland might have been seen as more from the heart, as he states in his essay, if it had just been announced as a fait accompli instead of the press and fans waiting in anticipation for the word to come down from the mountain inscribed on tablets.

Kareem did praise LeBron for his sincerity, but his overall point was that James won’t be going home to the “home he once knew.” While that may be true, we can’t think of a better storyline in the middle of LeBron’s career.

Chris Bosh was shocked by LeBron James’ decision to leave Heat

Chris Bosh tongueIf you were shocked by LeBron James’ announcement that he is leaving the Miami Heat to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, you are not alone. Even LeBron’s ex-teammates were surprised.

Chris Bosh, who also opted out of his contract with the Heat following the season, has been abroad traveling with his family in recent weeks. Rather than the Heat’s Big Three working together to plan the team’s future, LeBron had been working independently of Bosh and Dwyane Wade, who share the same agent. We now know that’s because LeBron was plotting to leave the team.

Upon learning of LeBron’s decision, Bosh said there was a “shock factor.”

Bosh makes out quite well in this whole situation. Rather than taking a pay cut to stay with the Heat, Bosh is going to sign a maximum contract worth $119 million over five seasons. He loves Miami and wanted to stay there with his family, so I’ll bet he never imagined he’d be getting this kind of max money while being able to remain in the city he loves. He also gets a chance to be a team leader again.

Bosh will be the top player on the Heat team, which will still have a competitive core. In addition to Bosh, the team agreed to deals with Luol Deng and Josh McRoberts. They likely are bringing back Chris Andersen and Mario Chalmers as well. They are probably going to sign Dwyane Wade, too.

LeBron’s departure shocked Bosh, but few will benefit from the move as much as he will. Now he gets to be a star again and remind people what he can do.

Delonte West throws shade at LeBron over Twitter – UPDATE fake account

LeBron James Delonte West

UPDATE: Delonte West’s sister informs us that this tweet came from a fake account. She says Delonte no longer uses any social media accounts.

Below is the tweet sent from the fake account.

The account has over 7k followers, including several pro athletes and notable journalists, which had us convinced it was real when it isn’t.

Delonte is currently playing in the NBA summer league with the Clippers after a two-year absence from the NBA.

We apologize for the error and to Delonte for involving his name in this.

Mike Miller contract offer from Cavs much less than Nuggets

Mike MillerIf Mike Miller chooses to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Denver Nuggets, he will be leaving a significant amount of guaranteed money on the table.

According to ESPN reporter Jeff Goodman, Miller’s offer from the Cavaliers is two years and about $5.5 million. His offer from Denver reportedly is three years and $12 million.

Earlier in the week week, Chris Broussard reported that Miller was closing in on a deal with the Nuggets. Knowing that Miller was exploring other options, the Memphis Grizzlies decided to sign Vince Carter.

Now it’s up to Miller to decide what to do.

The report about Miller closing on a deal with Denver came out before LeBron James announced he was going to Cleveland. However, other reports indicated that LeBron reached out to Miller and Ray Allen to gauge their interest in joining him on the Cavs if he chose to sign with his old team, so that would mean he was talking with Denver despite knowing LeBron was going to Cleveland.

Miller’s Instagram post during the week seemed to indicate he was interested in teaming with LeBron in Cleveland. If that’s the case, he’ll have to take a pay cut or tell Cleveland to increase their offer.

Paul Pierce signs with Wizards

Paul Pierce introsPaul Pierce has chosen to sign a two-year free agent deal with the Washington Wizards.

Pierce will sign for the mid-level exception — a two-year, $10 million deal with an early termination option.

Pierce was a free agent and spent one season in Brooklyn after previously spending his whole career with Boston.

TNT’s David Aldridge reports that Pierce wanted to play with the emerging squad in Washington, led by John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards had a need at small forward after Trevor Ariza chose to return to Houston.

He’s pretty excited about going to DC:

Pierce was also being pursued by the Clippers, but they were unable to swing a deal for the Doc Rivers favorite.

Despite his age, Pierce is still a useful player. He averaged 13.5 points on 45.1 percent shooting in 28 minutes per game last season. He will turn 37 in October.