Pat Riley’s shocking proposal to LeBron James before he returned to Cavs
Everyone talks about “The Decision,” when LeBron James announced he was joining the Miami Heat. However, people don’t discuss his return to Cleveland as much. It was something that was crucial for the Cavaliers franchise. But Miami’s Pat Riley made a shocking proposal prior to LeBron’s return to the Cavaliers, per NBA insider Marc Stein.
Stein said James Harden’s recent willingness to accept a pay cut with the Philadelphia 76ers reminded him of a similar offer Pat Riley once made to LeBron James. According to Stein, Riley met with James and his agency to see if LeBron would consider taking a pay cut to return to the Heat. However, James and his team were set on accepting a max deal. At that point in his career, LeBron had never received max money.
LeBron James obviously signed with the Cavaliers and the rest is history.
But the LeBron-Harden scenarios are different for a number of reasons. First off, LeBron was considered to be the best player in the NBA at the time. Meanwhile, Harden is a good player coming off of a down season.
LeBron was also in the prime of his career. Meanwhile, James Harden is 32-years old. Offering him a max deal would be risky. The 76ers and Harden were able to agree on a deal that satisfied both sides. And Philadelphia now has extra cap room to add around Harden and Joel Embiid.
Nonetheless, this Pat Riley proposal to LeBron James is shocking. LeBron had no reason to take a pay cut in the midst of his prime.