LeBron James' decision is the talk of the league

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) celebrates after his Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) celebrates after his 3-point shot at the buzzer beat the Orlando Magic 96-95 in Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals. (May 22, 2009) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

LeBron James is taking his talents back home.

The King has reclaimed his throne in Cleveland. James announced Friday on SI.com that he is leaving the Miami Heat for the city where he began his NBA career.

He returns with two rings on his fingers and two more MVP trophies on the mantel. Meanwhile, during James' absence, the Cavaliers won three draft lotteries.

"To say that I am excited and happy would probably qualify as one of the great understatements of the millennium," first-year Cavs coach David Blatt said. "Having the opportunity to coach the best player in the world is a blessing I would wish on everyone. I know because of the type of player he is and the type of man he is, I, too, will be better for it in every respect."

James' return transformed the Cavs overnight into title contenders. They opened as 60-1 shots to win the NBA championship and now are co-favorites with San Antonio at 4-1. The Heat opened at 3-1 and reached 100-1 Friday. That shows James' ability to shift the balance of power.

No other team -- outside of the Bulls with Michael Jordan -- has both lost and reacquired the game's best player while still in his prime.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"I wasn't necessarily surprised," Knicks coach Derek Fisher said of James' return. "It appeared that he was seriously considering it for some days now. He appears to be a smart young man and has always carried himself as more than just a basketball player."

Fisher and the Knicks could benefit from James leaving Miami, having eliminated the possibility of free agent Carmelo Anthony joining him in South Beach.

The Nets actually helped facilitate James' return. By acquiring Jarrett Jack from the Cavs in a three-team deal, the Nets created the cap room needed to give James a maximum deal.

"From my perspective, it's about helping Brooklyn get better, and Jarrett Jack is a nice addition for us," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. "What Cleveland did afterward, and LeBron, that's between them."

When James left Cleveland, a decision that was aired on national television to the chagrin of many, it led to a messy divorce. Decision 2.0 was done in a more tasteful way, as James wrote a heartfelt letter explaining why there's no place like home.

"This is one of the great moments in the history of the club," Blatt said. "The King is coming home. What more could you ask for as an organization?"

With Roderick Boone in Orlando, Florida, and

Al Iannazzone in Las Vegas

You also may be interested in: