LeBron James would have likely re-signed with the Miami Heat in 2014 had they won their third straight Finals, according to an except from a new book called Return of the King: Lebron James, The Cleveland Cavaliers and The Greatest Comeback in NBA History by Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin.
The Heat split the first two games of that series before the San Antonio Spurs won the next three games.
James had followed the Cleveland Cavaliers and their moves while he was gone. The pull of returning home was strong for James.
But the decision was very much in progress during the opening days of free agency.
Rich Paul and Mark Termini told the teams that met with them in Cleveland that James would only be accepting a full max contract and that his contract length might range from one year to the maximum of four.
Teams were also asked whether they would be willing to pay the luxury tax and repeater tax.
Even as it looked like James may choose the Cavaliers, Paul wasn't tipping his hand.
"Rich was the best poker player ever. We had no idea what was really happening, and he played it straight down the middle," Dan Gilbert said. "He said to me, 'Dan, we're in the decision cave right now.' I said, 'Rich, what's the decision cave? Is that next to the bat cave?'"
Brian Windhorst, Dave McMenamin/ESPN