Amid the separation, the lack of communication and the absence of media availability, it’s now evident that LeBron James has been planning the move from Miami to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a while. It’s also safe to say that his decision was made well before this offseason.
Before the meetings and before that Thursday cross-country plane flight with Dwyane Wade, now his former teammate, he knew something was off, even then.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade had a hunch.
When he and LeBron James shared a flight from Las Vegas last month, he could tell there was something different about his former teammate.
All it took was noticing James’ body language.
“Yeah, I went to sleep knowing,” Wade said Friday before his annual Fantasy Basketball Camp at the Westin Diplomat Hotel. “He called me the next day. But I knew then. Obviously he still had to say the final yay or nay, but I knew. I could tell.”
Hours after landing in Miami, from Las Vegas, LeBron’s decision was announced via a letter by Sports Illustrated. Wade’s hunch was now a reality.
But in the end, there was no way Wade could’ve held a decision like that against a friend. Which LeBron was to him before even a teammate.
“As his friend, I’m just supportive,” said Wade, who made no recruiting pitches to James. “As crazy as that might sound, I’m supportive of my friends doing what makes them happy. Obviously, same thing with him in this situation. You’ve gotta do what makes you happy — selfishly do what makes you happy. The decision to go back home was that.”
Shortly after, Chris Bosh re-signed in Miami. Then Luol Deng and later Wade. The Heat recovered nicely, but losing LeBron James is something you can’t just “recover” from, no matter how happy you are for the guy.