Now that LeBron James has made it official and has decided to return to the Cavaliers, the details of how it all came together are beginning to publicly become known. And not surprisingly, it took a certain level of contrition on both sides.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert had a lot of apologizing to do for his ill-received letter that lived on the team’s website — intentionally or not — for the last four years, and James reiterated his regret for the way he announced his decision in a nationally televised special.
From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
For four years, the letter had come to define Dan Gilbert, and the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers wanted to wash away the shame and embarrassment and guilt of it all. So Sunday, Gilbert sat down with LeBron James and his inner-circle and tried to absolve himself of a most wretched moment in time.
“We had five great years together and one terrible night,” Gilbert told James, and so started the process of reconciliation on Sunday night in Miami. “I told him how sorry I was, expressed regret for how that night went and how I let all the emotion and passion for situation carry me away. I told him I wish had never done it, that I wish I could take it back.”
And soon, James told Gilbert that he wished he had never done “The Decision” on cable television and that they had made mistakes together, that they could move past it. From James and his agent Rich Paul and business manager Maverick Carter, the air of peace hung heavy in the South Florida air, the process of returning to Cleveland had begun in earnest. Soon, they had stopped talking about the past and talked about the possibility of a future together and for the first time – truly the first time – the possibility of reunification had become genuine.
You can imagine just how sorry Gilbert was, especially once LeBron returning became a real possibility. As for James, as he stated in his letter announcing his most recent decision, he wasn’t about to hold a grudge — as long as Gilbert was sincere, there would be nothing stopping LeBron from coming home.
The Lakers are rebuilding. They don’t want to sell it as that because they are the Lakers, yet in reality what they will really sell the next couple of years is Kobe Bryant and the hope of landing a big star. But make no mistake, they are rebuilding. Carmelo Anthony is not coming to skip over steps in the process, not after the moves the Lakers have made.
What it takes to rebuild is draft picks — and the Lakers are woefully lacking in that category, having sent picks out in deals to get veterans such as Steve Nash. So the moves the Lakers are making now are more about the picks and the future than they are the pieces com in
With that, the Lakers agreed to a deal with the Houston Rockets to trade for Jeremy Lin and a future pick. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has the details.
The Rockets will send a 2015 first-round pick, and other draft considerations to the Lakers to unload the final year of Lin’s $14 million expiring contract that includes a salary cap hit of $8.3 million based on the deal’s structure.
The Lakers will send cash and the rights to an overseas player, sources said.
For the Rockets, this is one of a number of trades and steps for them to sign Chris Bosh to a max or near max deal. That is moving forward rapidly (which the Rockets are pushing so they can match Chandler Parsons).
Lin, with his Taiwanese ancestry and still incredible popularity, makes for good marketing for the Lakers for a year. With Lakers fans always voting for Lakers, don’t be shocked if Lin is an All-Star starter next year once the fans have voted.
But what the Lakers really need is the 2015 pick.
Which is why the Lakers might engage in some sign-and-trade talk with the Chicago Bulls about Pau Gasol for Carlos Boozer, reports Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report.
It’s not about Boozer, but if Gasol is gone anyway (and he likely is without Anthony in Los Angeles) the Lakers might as well get something to help the rebuilding along as part of the process.
LeBron James has made his decision: Cleveland.
Now the other big domino that is to fall in NBA free agency is Carmelo Anthony — stay with the Knicks, or join the Lakers or Bulls. When will he decide?
Not Friday, says Marc Spears of Yahoo sports.
Anthony still seems legitimately torn. LeBron was able to come to grips with what mattered most to him — taking him and his family back to Northeast Ohio — but Anthony is struggling with what matters most to him. Money? Winning? Lifestyle and location? How to balance all of them?
Anthony has to choose fast because his options are drying up.
The Lakers just traded for Jeremy Lin and with that can no longer offer Anthony a full max contract (according to the math of Dan Feldman of PBT). If the Lakers stretch Steve Nash out (let him go, pay his contract over three years) and renounce rights to everybody (Kendall Marshall, Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre) they can get to about a million a year short of max, but not all the way there.
Maybe Anthony already counted the Lakers out, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN said he did, although nobody else did so take it with salt.
But ‘Melo has other problems.
The Lakers and Chicago have started to have preliminary discussions of a Pau Gasol for Carlos Boozer sign-and-trade swap (where the Bulls send the Lakers a pick, the Lakers need picks to rebuild) and that could kill the Chicago option for Anthony. Chicago might wait a little while to pull the trigger on that kind of deal to see what Anthony wants to do, but they will not wait long. And that would kill the idea of Gasol coming to New York if Anthony went there.
All of which is to say, he doesn’t have to decide today but the longer he waits, the fewer options he has that are not New York.
Which maybe where Anthony wanted to land all along.
This is why the Timberwolves waited.
They figured once LeBron James (and maybe Carmelo Anthony) signed, interest in Kevin Love would heat up. Then, they could start a bidding war.
The Cavaliers, with Love’s urging, are probably game. I suspect they’ll get past their lowball offer and at least discuss a deal involving Andrew Wiggins.
The Warriors? Not so much.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:
Klay Thompson is a good young player, and he fits well with the Warriors.
If the Cavaliers offer Wiggins, this probably a somewhat moot point. Wiggins is more valuable than Thompson.
But if the Warriors pass up a chance to get Love because they refuse to trade Thompson, they’ll regret it.
It’s possible that scenario has already played out, if Minnesota would have finalized the reported traded based on Love and Kevin Martin for Thompson and David Lee. To ensure that fate is a misstep.
There are clowns in every city.
Cavaliers fans drew a lot of mocking for their post-Decision hysteria, including burning LeBron James jerseys in the street. I always thought that was unfair, because the craziest fans don’t necessarily represent the whole.
The same is true of Heat fans, but one did this:
Hey, Miami, take a lead from Heat owner Micky Arison. Handle this a little better than the mural defacer.