Miami sent that selection and another first-rounder to Cleveland on a sign-and-trade for James in 2010 (it gave the Heat the ability to sign him to a six-year deal at a higher salary, which he opted out of after four years, making that whole maneuver pretty much unnecessary). The pick was flipped to Minnesota, which sent it too the 76ers, and Philadelphia used it tonight to take Timothe Luwawu at No. 24 overall.
During last year’s NBA Finals, LeBron James revealed he was being powered by some “secret motivation.” When pressed for details, James promised he would say what it was after the Cavaliers won an NBA title.
But you know what would be even more staggering? If LeBron decided to leave Cleveland for a second time to return his talents to South Beach for another shot with close friend Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
First off, James signed a two-year deal with the Cavs last summer, but the contract has a player option after the first year. So he could opt out and head south — or anywhere, for that matter, willing to pay him somewhere between $25-30 million a year.
Second, you could argue that in delivering the city’s first title since 1964, James has fulfilled whatever “obligation” he had to Cleveland. Most of those who were burning his jersey six years ago when he left are at this moment out celebrating an NBA championship.
“I came back to bring a championship to this city,” LeBron told Doris Burke after the game. “I gave it everything that I had. I put my heart and my blood and my sweat and my tears into this game. And against all odds … Cleveland, this is for you!”
So the 31-year-old Akron native likely feels like he has done his duty and could leave feeling good about what he and his team have been able to accomplish.
Finally, it’s clear LeBron still has plenty of fans in Miami-Dade County — some friends with significant influence.