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Sunday, July 11th, 2010 at 12:15 pm  |  32 responses

How “The Decision” Came To Be

How the stars aligned in Miami.

Brian Windhorst, a man who’s been on the Cavs beat for most of LeBron’s tenure, dug deep into “The Decision.” What came of it was this tremendous feature. We have an excerpt for you here, but recommend you read it in its entirety:

During a rally for Miami Heat fans Friday night, Chris Bosh said he had been talking with new teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade about the moment for months.

It was a slip, which some, including Bosh himself, caught. The premise that the trio had been talking about teaming up for months hinted there was a plan in place. That potentially would be against rules, and could raise concerns from the league since Bosh and James were playing for teams battling for the playoffs in Toronto and Cleveland.

Bosh quickly revised the statement and said they had been talking about it for “days.” But it appears James, Bosh and Wade had been discussing this for years.

The Plain Dealer talked to numerous sources to piece together a picture of how James ended up in Miami.

It is still a somewhat fuzzy picture, but here are the broad strokes:

The seeds were planted in the summer of 2006 after Bosh, James and Wade finished their third seasons. Established All-Stars and clearly the future of the league, the three were part of a bonding effort led by USA Basketball to revamp and re-energize the national team after the disappointing 2004 bronze medal.

The three played together for the first time that summer in Japan at the World Championships. For the first week, they were sequestered without family or friends in Sapporo, Japan, in an attempt to build chemistry. But it wasn’t just the players. Working as an intern for Team USA and getting to know the players was Nick Arison, the son of Heat billionaire owner Micky Arison.

Now, Nick Arison is a rising executive with the Heat. He was part of the team that recruited all three players this summer.

That same July, the co-op took on another role when all three decided to extend their contracts with their teams. They couldn’t all become unrestricted free agents until 2007 under the rules, so the smart play was for them to extend with the respective teams.

But with some of the league’s higher-profile older stars perceived as being stuck in long-term contracts with struggling teams, the three decided to go for shorter contracts.

In the ensuing years, four important events happened that were major contributors to their teaming in 2010.

First, the three had a positive and emotional summer in 2008 in China, winning the gold medal. They proved they could play effectively together. For the most part, they checked their egos, with Wade even deciding to come off the bench.

Second, Los Angeles-based management company Creative Artists Agency decided to get into the basketball agent business. Seeing how influential they could be in the summer of 2010, CAA bought the agencies that represented James, Bosh and Wade. Bringing them all under one roof gave CAA huge control of the market and took down any barriers the three would have with negotiations.

Third, the recession hit, and NBA owners started tightening their spending, a trend that would last for two years. The result was a bubble of salary-cap space that eventually would result in giving numerous teams large blocks of cap space in 2010.

Fourth, the struggling New York Knicks launched a plan in the fall of 2008 to clear off enough cap space to sign two maximum level free agents in an effort to recruit James to New York by promising to sign another star as well. Though he never said so directly, James began openly flirting with the thought. Other teams saw the opening and hatched the same plan.

That included the Heat, which was in the midst of a large-scale rebuilding process after a 15-win season…

All the players still met with teams just to make sure they wanted Miami. Wade and James were interested in Chicago, where there was a chance two of them could match up and play with rising star Derrick Rose. But Wade stayed strong to Riley’s plan and kept tugging on James and Bosh.

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  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Does this really surprise anyone?

  • http://slamonline.com Ghost

    Pat Riley made other GM’s look like a B.Comm student.

  • http://www.threadsandkicks.com.au Eduardo

    Man they did a “Survivor” strategy on the sports world!

  • ktokyo

    who cares? All is fair in love and basketball. haha. Seriously, they were together for months and playing on the same (USA) team. It would only be natural for them to think of teaming up and playing together again. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it and the league will be better as a result.

  • BostonBaller

    what’s done is done…Everyone knew they had talked about this since their Olympic time together but now that Bosh “slipped up” it will be a bigger deal than it should be..such is the world of media and todays fans.

  • olddirtyphil

    they knew they were playing together since the cavs got knocked out of the playoffs or alot longer than that this was for sure planned out i dont think they ever wanted to play for anyone but miami

  • rich

    ^^^ i agree all the other interviews were prolly for show… he did talk to the clippers. ya the clippers

  • Miami Tom

    Wow! Some people can’t let it go! Give Riley credit: the man had the balls to actually attempt this insane endeavor. No other executive had the balls to bet ALL the chips.

    Now they’re all crying. Mark Cuban is even asking for some kind of investigation. Maybe they’ll ask Obama to step in and void the deals in the name of fairness.

  • horsey

    wasn’t mike miller on a national team with them as well?

  • ClydeSays

    It’s one thing for players to talk about getting together on one team. It something else if ownership/management is conspiring and talking to players under contract. I’d have to think Stern looks into this…

  • Scottie Pimpin’

    “its gonna be real Hollywood down there”

  • el_nino_torres

    so internship do pay off!

  • halo

    it dont matter they on da same time now :)

  • http://yahoo Ddub

    All the so caled experts are full of sh@t,now they are saying,he GILBERT COULDNT PUT A TEAM AROUND lEBRON. But during the season and in the playoffs,the cavs were the deepest team ,and the favorite!Do fans have no memory?Now,its Gulbert need to grow up!! I am not a cavs fan,But!! Hell no!! let Gilbert speak his mind! Because, anyone one would be mad as hell!!,if someone quit on you in front of millions,check the celts series,so bron quit,then led everyone to believe,he was on the up and up,when he knew,that he was gone.If he had a beef with Gilbert,what about those fans??? Play with your boys on the national team,but you kick their ass for a living during the nba season,After the lakers finish their runI am pulling for Durant to kick their asses,Come on DURANT, He is going to be the new peoples choice.

  • O

    Durant is definitely the Peoples Champ now. Wade PLAYED LeBron worst than Bron played himself. Straight pimp talked LeBron into joining his squad, thus abandoning his own legacy to help the next man solidify his own. That’s what happens when a college man gets in the ear of a high school kid.

  • Groves

    who cares if they planned it for years? i sure as hell don’t

  • LilKDub503

    These things can sound so illicit, but is it so wrong to take advantage of the chips one had been dealt? Not only that, but this kind of stuff happens all of the time, you just never see it, until someone blows it all open. It’s kind of like how the Clippers planned for getting Blake Griffin well in advance. Hey, that’s just how the game goes, baby. It’s a business.

  • O

    I just hope that the next generation of basketball “stars” have more of a competitive nature than this crop. Props to Kevin Durant for wanting to conquer it all on his own accord.

  • LD

    The Cavs act like they didn’t have a “deal” to get Big Z back when they traded him to Washington. How about they investigate that one.

  • by3by3

    For any good team there has to be at least 3 playmakers on any team clev only had 1 1\2 labron and west mo cudnt make 2 plays n a row he cudnt get his shot off 1 on 1 they got jamison in that trade but he cudnt make one single play like wen he was wit the wiz his game got exposed cuz he playn 4 somthin wen he went to the cavs wit the wiz he was the man thrown up 25 shots a game the cavs depended on labrons double an triple teams to get open we will see if the cavs win 25 games this year or if they are so great like people like the media sa they were

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    People, lets move on, Lebron totally decided and the other two cats, that they need rings now and can’t do it by themselves so they made their own dream team, but Lebron career will take the most hit, because I see Wade averaging more points, thus shutting Lebron from being MVP anymore. In the future if they stay together for six years. Wade will always have one more title than Lebron and Wade can say I did it one time as the Man of a team. Lebron can only say I fail twice as the Man of a team that had the best record in the league twice and Bosh is just along for the show. WADE is the real winner to me and to see three cats in their prime come together like this is BORDERLINE SAD. BOOK IT!!!

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    Surprised its not on here yet, but the suns just traded Barbosa to Tor. for Hedo.. Suns also traded a draft pick to ATL for the rights of Josh Childress..

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    The Seed posts the dumbest comments. Ever.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ^ That was not me, but Seed’s comment WAS pretty ridiculous.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Are you guys serious? Wade will always have one more ring than LeBron, and that’s supposed to bother LeBron because what, he “couldn’t win it on his own?” What they care about is obviously winning–so I don’t get how you can say their legacies are sullied.
    Get real, do you think Magic Johnson gave a hoot about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar always having “one more ring” than him, or Kareem being able to win “on his own” (even though he did it with the Big O)? Obviously not, or they wouldn’t have won FIVE CHAMPIONSHIPS together. I’m not saying this trio will be as effective as Magic/Jabbar/Worthy, but talent-wise, they definitely are. Nobody says Magic Johnson couldn’t win a ring on his own.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    I find that it’s almost always Laker fans that are saying this kind of stuff about the Heat’s new trio (not all, but most), yet they still neglect the Showtime Lakers. And excuse me, Kobe won on his own? When, in ’05-’06? Basketball is a team game, ladies and gentlemen.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Although, of course Kobe was alpha dog these two titles.

  • Jerry-Leigh

    Lebron took the easy way out, 2 scared and not good enough to lead a franchise on his own. instead he has to go team up with another franshise player in wade, and an all star forward in bosh. The KING?? HHHAHAHA how funny, if he was the king he would have had the balls to stay at cleavland and deliever a championship. weak!

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    So will sterbot come forward and make this null and void? Does he have that kind of power??? Will these three never be allowed to join the same team?????

  • RedRum

    what Lebron did not realise is that it is different to “win” a championship and “earn” a championship…

  • hoodsnake

    I just wana see how they fill out the rest of the team. Thats why there is a salary cap.

  • Ed LOmax

    BTW, as a true long standing Heat supporter I was DAMN surprised that Lebron signed with us. Not so much by Bosh’s decision, but definately surprised by Lebron.. I was a little disappointed to be totally honest, I would’ve rathered perhaps Rudy Gay or a couple of solid pieces (Wes Mathews, Ty Thomas, Tay Prince) to build around Wade and Bosh even if for only the sake of good competition for years to come. Not that I’m complaining LOL. P.S thank you Riles for shopping off Super-douche Beas.. Woulda been nice to get something for a number 2 pick from only a couple of years back.

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