"In this Fall, I am going to take my talents to South Beach... and join the Miami Heat."
-- LeBron James --
And, all indications were right (Newsday first reported LeBron going to Miami around midnight last night). James is set to join Bosh and Wade in South Beach. Not to much drama -- if any at all -- in Greenwich. One could hear a pin-drop.
LeBron on the Knicks
As for Knick fans and Knick brass, LeBron only fielded one question regarding the Knicks and New York. It was a rather pointed one from Michael Wilbon regarding if LeBron ever was drawn to the Knicks and New York -- perhaps even favoring them at one point --
AND LEBRON DIDN'T ANSWER THE QUESTION. PRETTY MUCH AT ALL. JAMES DODGED THE QUESTION. THAT IS JUST THE FACT. HERE IS THE TRANSCRIPT AND IT IS ALSO IN THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH WILBON BELOW:
LeBron: "I think I was attracted to a lot of cities... It ultimately came down to where I can win the most, and where I would be happy in Miami."
LeBron's answers to Michael Wilbons's questions:
What was lacking in Cleveland: "I don't even see it as something lacking in Cleveland. I just think that the attraction in Miami alongside Wade and Bosh and the other guys that are going to come in it will be a new challenge for myself.
"I really haven't spoke to anyone, besides my team (Cavs). Any teams, any players... Make the right decision for no one else but myself."
Words to fans in Cleveland: "I know a lot of people look up to me. I know what I have done for the City of Cleveland and that area... I'm sorry, I'm going to miss all of them."
More thoughts on Cleveland, how tough it will be going back there: "I know it is going to be a transition. We will have to go back there twice a year. I hope the fans will be respectful. And I expect them to be... Pulling into the tunnel in a bus instead of a car."
If you win a championship in Miami as opposed to Cleveland, will it be less of a championship?:
"I think championships are championships... when you get to that point you can't think, wow, I wish it was somewhere else... I haven't gotten there yet."
At any point were you drawn to the allure of the Knicks, New York and all that had to offer?: "I think I was attracted to a lot of cities... It ultimately came down to where I can win the most, and where I would be happy in Miami."
On Chicago: "It's great talent."
Meeting with Riley: "He's great. I want to give a lot of thanks to the Miami Heat organization for coming down and giving me the presentation to make me feel apart of my family... he understands the DNA of a championship team... for multiple years to come."
On Miami's small roster, what needs to be done: " I think Pat and Coach and Micky Erickson, will make sure we have a team that is ready to compete. (Compared situation to Boston)... (those three Allen, Garnett and Pierce) raised their level of play."
How much more pressure on you to win now apart of "Super-team": I don't think it is a super team right now cause we don't have a team to fill the rosters... A team is not built on just three guys... on a whole organization."
Terms of the contract: "Well, the numbers are not finalized. Leon Rose will take care of that. All three of us will take less money... hopefully Pate and Mickey can bring in guys to help us out, which we believe."
Ever incentive to take shorter deal: "As far as years, collective bargaining means a lot... it's not about the max deal cause I'm not taking the max deal... the max deal would have been staying in Cleveland."
How hard will it be (concessions with other players): "Well for me my mindset doesnt change, from opening of training camp, my mindset it to win, we did that in Cleveland... my mindset doesn't change... This is a team, so that at the end of the day all of our midsets are on to in the NBA championship."
Was this the chance to win multiple NBA Championships, looking at peers (Kobe anyone): Know ing the history of the game, you look at all of the teams that won. It has not just been one superstar that has gone out to win the whole game... This league, you becone a superstar individually, you become champion as a team.
I can't get involved in that. One thing that I didn't want to do is make an emotional decision... Make a decision to make LeBron James happy... I hope the fans understand maybe they won't."
Repair relationships over time (with Cavs fans): "For me, as long as I have a great relationship with the man above that gave me guidance... I'm happy with that."
Wilbon's asks James if he has anything to add: "For me, to the fans of Cleveland, the times that we had we no other. In my seven years we took that franchise to places they have never seen... At the end of the day I feel awful... to my real fans out there I hope you stick with me in Miami."
LBJ's answers to Jim Gray's -- perhaps surprising -- grueling and digging questions on most aspects of the issue. They became a little bit more like softball questions after James made the decision for the Heat:
"It's heartfelt for me, It's hard to explain... I never wanted to leave Cleveland and I never wanted to leave that area."
"It's not like leaving Cleveland, it's like joining forces with the other two guys (Bosh and Wade."
"I'm not sure. They (Cavs fans) can have mixed emotions of course... And then you are going to have the real friends who know who I am."
"Akron will always be my hometown."
"Eric Spoelstra will be the coach. Pat (Riley) has said that."
"This is tough. It's very tough because you feel like you have let a lot of people down... It was a tough decision because I know how loyal I am."
Like my mother said to me throughout this process: "You have to do what's best for you."
"When I called my mother I thought she would have a different reaction... She felt that it was going to make me happy. When I heard that from my mother it was the relief I had been looking for throughout this whole process."
9:19: Decision will come in next five minutes, as LeBron is seated directly across from Gray elevated on a podium in the middle of the Boys and Girls Club as ESPN cuts to break.
9:18: Wilbon, Broussard and Barry all predict James to pick the Heat. Decision in a few minutes, says Scott.
9:12: It looks like LeBron will be making the decision in the next five minutes, as Stuart Scott teased the announcement before ESPN cut to commercial break.
9:07: It appears LeBron is sitting down now to make the decision with former NBC anchor Jim Gray
Hey Everyone, here with the live blog for the decision that seemingly would never come, as NBA Free Agent LeBron James is set to make his decision on where he will sign shortly after 9 p.m from the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, Conn.
Be sure to check back here on Alan Hahn's Knicks Fix blog as we will have all of the live coverage of the decision you will need leading up to James taking the podium.
9 p.m. And it's finally here. Nine o'clock. The decision is minutes away apparently. And LeBron is in Greenwich sporting a light-red and white checkered dress shirt with a white collar. He is with his entourage, and the latest is that LeBron hasn't informed Miami yet. The show has started, Michael Wilbon, Broussard, Stuart Scott and Jon Barry are discussing around the ESPN Roundtable. The decision that has been awaited for years is minutes away.
Getting closer and closer. But stick here for all of your updates. For everything that the team here at Newsday has been tirelessly working on to get you the most up to date information on LeBron and Free Agency, see below. All the links are there. No, just directing you to some of the other best information and videos on everything LeBron and Amare on the web:
Amare AAU highlights with a little Louie Armstrong no less!!
Ok, about a half hour till "The Decision", as it is being pegged. But just a reminder as always, for the most up to date news from the beat writer himself, Follow Alan Hahn for his updates on Twitter: twitter.com/alanhahn)
And for all of those pessimistic Knick fans, here are links to that one "shiny present" Free Agency 2010 has already left under your July tree :
Amare, "The Foundation"
Amare, The tight-lipped Yankee Fan
Amare, the slideshow.
Amare, the video.
Here are the goods:
Isiah Thomas... the Knicks' last ditch effort Honestly?
If the tide turns and LeBron picks the Knicks. Well, LeBron's vitals for his new digs.
Background to the Greenwich venue? More than you'd think.
More fan reaction to LeBron... including a video!
Crash course -- via pictures -- into the life of the King.
More pictures... and captions chock full 'o' information.
For now, here are some links to everything you will need to know in the next hour as it is down to less than 70 minutes before NBA fans will finally know James home for next year and beyond. And Knick fans will know if they will actually get their much sought after man.
OK, here are the links... but first things first. As of right now, the word is that Lebron will join Super Free Agents Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. But, in the ongoing saga it would be naive to dismiss the chance that James' hometown Cavaliers or, yes, even the Knicks -- with the newly acquired Amare Stoudemire, still have a shot. Other than that, choice No. 4 appears to be the Bulls. And word just from ESPN's Rich Bucher, James will alert all five of the teams involved in his courtship shortly before the announcement is made official on ESPN.