Miami Heat president Pat Riley has conceded that he finds it “almost shocking” that the players got into a situation where LeBron James felt he wanted to leave.
LeBron wants more rest: Cavs star wants less of a load ahead of playoffs.
Blatt worried by hard fouls on LeBron: Cavs coach doesn’t like the emerging trend.
LeBron ready to protect himself more: Cleveland star could start retaliating.
James helped the Heat to four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals after joining the franchise back in 2010, and after winning two championships, he opted to return home to Cleveland last summer to re-join the Cavaliers.
The 30-year-old has unfinished business with his hometown franchise, but it still came as a surprise at the time that he chose a return to start a new dynasty and leave one behind that was still capable of competing for championships for years to come.
Riley believes James’ former teammates also played a role in the failure to keep the team together and revealed that he was shocked that they didn’t stay together for another championship run.
“That’s the most surprising thing for me, is how those…” Riley said, according to Ethan Skolnick’s piece for Bleacher Report.
“Generational teams stay together. The players stay together. They know what they have. They see what they’ve won. They see that there’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment here, and they don’t want to leave that. You may never get it again.
“That was almost shocking to me that the players would allow that to happen. And I’m not just saying LeBron. I mean, the players, themselves, would allow them to get to a state where a guy would want to go home or whatever it is.”
Riley added that he partly understood the desire to return home, but still can’t fully understand how LeBron turned his back on building something historic in Miami and making it his new home.
The Heat president compared it to the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson leaving the Los Angeles Lakers, and questioned whether or not either he or the franchise as a whole could have done more to keep things together.