Lebron James: Why Going to the Heat Wasn’t the Easy Way Out

Updated: June 1, 2014

A few years ago I wrote a classic article on Lebron James leaving Cleveland titled, Why Lebron James’ Decision Was Actually The Right One. In the article I wrote, “Wearing the crown is overrated without the rings to match.”

Now that the Miami Heat are have achieved the historically significant feat of appearing in their fourth straight Eastern Conference finals, people are beginning to whisper. What are they saying? Lebron James took the easy way out.

Let me break down why that is not only flat out wrong, but historically incorrect as well.

First and foremost, what was Lebron James supposed to do in Cleveland? By failing to acquire Amare Stoudemire from the Suns during his prime, the Cavaliers primed themselves for failure. At that time Stoudemire was the only superstar realistically available on the market and instead of attempting to trade for him the Cavs decided to stand pat and add Antwaan Jamison alongside Shaq. Yes, Stoudemire’s career has derailed due to injury recently but that doesn’t take from the fact that he was at one time one of the best big men in the sport.

How long was Lebron supposed to carry Delonte West, Antwaan Jamison, Anderson Varejao, Anthony Parker, Shaquille O’Neal, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas to Eastern Conference finals?

Quick, name how many of the players I just named are also OUT OF THE LEAGUE.

Can anyone name all five starters of the 2007 Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers?


By going to Miami Lebron didn’t take the easy way out. He simply did what he had to do: leave an inept front office. Miami made a big move by signing Chris Bosh and then leveraged it with enough sense to leave cap room for Wade and Lebron as well. Do you think the Cleveland Cavaliers were (are) savvy enough to do this?

I’ll let you decide.

In the end, Lebron has not experienced this success because of his superstar teammates. It is because he’s Lebron James playing with legitimate NBA top tier talent. Dwayne Wade shows flashes of the 2006 NBA Champion version of himself, but often lumbers through the regular season without classic performances. Chris Bosh has transformed to some hybrid streaky three point shooter that plays nothing like that guy in Toronto. Both players in their current form are still leagues better than anyone Lebron played in Cleveland with.

And then there are the role players.

Guys like Mike Miller, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Greg Oden, and Shane Battier have taken less money and a lesser role to come to Miami. The organization clearly listens to their superstar and does everything they can to get the talent they need around him. Unfortunately you can’t say that for his previous franchise.

With the Heat on the dawn of another NBA Finals and Lebron James close to another free agency the question isn’t whether or not Lebron took the easy way out or will he resign with Cleveland.

The question is now if Lebron afford to leave the Heat?