King James no longer will reign in Miami.
Days of South Florida unease at the start of the NBA’s free-agency period turned into stunned rejection, with LeBron James announcing Friday that he was leaving the Miami Heat for a return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James’ decision came a day after a Wednesday meeting with Heat President Pat Riley in Las Vegas, where James is running a basketball camp.
James’ choice ultimately came down to sustaining excellence in his adopted home in South Florida or returning closer to his childhood roots. A year-round lifestyle at his massive estate just outside of Akron ultimately prevailed.
The Cavaliers created the salary-cap space for the maximum contract James has sought, with a three-team trade completed Thursday that sent veteran guard Jarrett Jack to the Brooklyn Nets and also included a package with the Boston Celtics.
James last month opted out of the final two years of the six-year free-agent contract he signed with the Heat in July 2010, when he joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in a championship-like celebration.
James’ commitment to the Cavaliers is in now place, able to sign his new contract at any time, after Thursday’s end of the NBA’s offseason personnel moratorium.
With James’ departure, there is a chance Bosh could pursue a maximum-scale contract with the Houston Rockets, perhaps leaving only Wade likely to re-sign from what had been the Heat’s Big Three these past four seasons.
A rebuilding program is expected to ensue with the Heat, similar to what followed in the wake of the breakup with Shaquille O’Neal following the team’s 2006 NBA championship and subsequent slide in the standings.
The Heat advanced to the NBA Finals in each of James’ four seasons in South Florida after he left the Cavaliers, with James winning his first NBA championships in 2012 and ’13. The Heat last month fell 4-1 to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals, with James then pushing Riley to upgrade the team’s roster.
Riley attempted to accommodate James with Monday’s free-agency additions of Charlotte Hornets forward Josh McRoberts and Los Angeles Clippers swingman Danny Granger. Instead, the Heat now are left with two additional supporting players without the game’s ultimate superstar to support.
The low-key nature of James’ Thursday decision was in muted contrast to 2010, when he held a nationally televised special on ESPN — “The Decision” — to announce his move to the Heat. The difference this time was the length of time from the July 1 start of the free-agency period it took for resolution.
James was named NBA Most Valuable Player in 2012 and ’13, finishing as runner-up this past season to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
There had been concern for months of James returning to the Cavaliers to be closer to his Bath Township home in Ohio, with Cleveland selecting Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins recently with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft and on Thursday locking All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving into a long-term contract.
While several teams pitched the option of a fresh start with a new supporting cast, James ultimately bypassed overtures from the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets. And the Heat — the only team James met face-to-face with during his decision-making process.
Amid a swirl of rumors and conjecture about his future these past few weeks, James largely took himself out of the free-agency process, allowing his agent, Cleveland-based Rich Paul, to gauge outside interest while James was on vacation with his family. James then scheduled Wednesday’s summit with Riley.
James stressed after the NBA Finals that his priority was positioning himself on a team with championship potential, while also explaining how much his family enjoys their time in South Florida, with James’ wife, Savannah, operating a Miami juice bar and James involved in several South Florida ventures, including a pizza chain.
Prior to opting out of his Heat contract in late June, James was blunt about his future.
“For me,” he said, “I just want to win. And that’s all that matters to me.”
In the wake of the Heat’s demise in the NBA Finals, Riley urged his star players to return and attempt to become just the second team to advance to at least five consecutive NBA Finals. Ultimately, those words failed to resonate with his leading man.
“This stuff is hard,” Riley said in an emotional media session just days after the Finals. “You’ve got to stay together if you’ve got the guts. You don’t find the first door and run out of it. This is four years into this era — four Finals.
“That cements a forever bond, is going through what we went through this year and staying the course.”
Riley’s emphasis was there was too much already in place to simply walk away.
“We have great coaching, great leadership,” he said. “I didn’t come down here 19 years ago for a quick trip to South Beach to get a suntan, and I don’t think they did, either. All those guys who have come here got exactly what they wanted, the best competition on the biggest stage. We won two of the last three.”
Even in June, Riley was taking the long view with his star forward.
“The four years we had with LeBron we hope turns into another 8 or 10,” he said.
Ultimately, it proved to be a four-year run along Biscayne Bay.
Michael Jordan’s Son, Jeffrey, Accused Of Assault In AZ
Update: September 26th Jeffrey Jordan was booked today for one count of aggravated assault of a healthcare professional. He has since been released.
Jeffrey is, Michael Jordan‘s 32-year-old son who is now accused of assaulting staff at a hospital in Arizona Friday night, where he was being treated for an injury he sustained in a bar.
Here’s the deal … Jeffrey was at Casa Amigos bar in Scottsdale when he “fell and hit his head,” according to police. They say Jordan then became combative with security who were attempting to escort him out of the bar to receive medical attention.
Scottsdale PD, who were in the area for an unrelated call, were summoned to assist. Cops interviewed bar staff, and eventually deemed the incident “medical in nature,” not criminal. An ambulance was called to transport JJ to a hospital.
After arriving at a local hospital, that’s when things allegedly took a turn.
Jeffrey is accused of assaulting hospital staff while being treated for the injury he sustained at the bar. A report for aggravated assault, a felony, was taken at the hospital.
As for Jeffrey’s side, our sources tell us he was confused and disoriented following the fall.
Jordan was NOT arrested or charged with a crime. As of this morning, he still remains in the hospital.
Police tell us the relevant reports will be sent to the Maricopa County Prosecutors Office … where they will review the case and determine if charges are warranted.
6’1″ Jeffrey, MJ’s oldest son, played college basketball at the University of Illinois, before transferring to the University of Central Florida in 2010. He played 107 college basketball games over his career, averaging about 2 points a game.
This report continues to unfold.
Lizzo Trying to Manifest Banging Drake After New Song Name-Drop
Lizzo says she name-dropped Drake in her new song to turn the tables on an age-old trope of rappers doing the same for women — but it seems she’s actually trying to bang the dude.
During an interview with Zane Lowe, the singer mentioned Drake on her new song with Cardi B, “Rumors,” because she felt it’d be fun to give society a taste of its own medicine — and in this context, that means flipping the script on rappers/male musicians name-dropping fine women in their tunes.
If you didn’t hear the bar yet, it goes … “Last year, I thought I would losе it // Readin’ s*** on the internet // My smoothie cleanse and my diet // No, I ain’t f*** Drake yet (Ha).”
The Drake thing seems to have come out of left field … but Lizzo explained further in the ZL sit-down, jokingly saying she hasn’t quite been able to manifest some bedroom boom with Toronto’s Certified Lover Boy — even though it sounds like she’d love to take a dip.
All kidding aside, Lizzo says she included the line as a way to turn what rappers have often done in music — namely, name-dropping ladies/would-be sexual exploits — upside down on its head. It’s true … fellas have done that for a long time in the genre .
As far as their real-life relationship … Lizzo says she kinda knows Drake, and that he’s super cool.
Still, it seems she does, in fact, want some of what he’s got — at least based on her Twitter activity shortly after this interview aired. She tweeted right at Champagne Papi for the whole world to see, writing … “Hey big head @Drake.” Classic “wyd” vibes for modern dating.
Aubrey hasn’t publicly responded yet … but wouldn’t that be something if he did??? Unfortunately for her, he seems to have his hands full with
Johanna Leia and other things these days.
Boxer Gervonta Davis Involved in Minor Plane Crash, Documents Aftermath
Gervonta Davis just, miraculously, walked away from a plane crash relatively unscathed — and it sounds like what’s hurting him the most in the aftermath are his feet … and his caboose.
The professional boxer went live Saturday to document a terrifying encounter he says he and his crew had just gone through after boarding a private jet … which apparently failed to properly take off and crash landed back down to the airport grounds it was trying to leave.
Thankfully, it doesn’t appear the aircraft got very far up before coming back down to Earth — because Gervonta and other passengers seemed more or less okay … with their health and bodies intact.
That’s not to say Gervonta wasn’t feeling some hurt afterwards — on his live feed, he noted that his booty was aching like no other … this while he wrapped his feet in gauze. He’s pretty jovial about the whole thing, which is great to see, but this could’ve easily been way worse.
Gervonta also was able to get some shots of the downed plane, and it sure looks like something went wrong internally. There were also fire engines that showed up on the scene to evaluate the damage and tend to anyone’s injuries. Again, though, most everyone seems to be fine … which is absolutely incredible, because it appears there were even children aboard, based on a photo Gervonta posted shortly before getting on his flight. His video doesn’t capture any kids, though.
It’s unclear what exactly caused the malfunction — but you can hear Gervonta and his friends speculate on what happened … seems like there might’ve been some overheating of some sort. They also appear to be discussing some of the flight maneuvers the pilot(s) were using in the air … and the group seems to think that may have attributed to it going down.
Stay tuned while we here at Prestige try to get a hold of Gervonta’s team for more answers.