What was it like Friday in Pat Riley’s office following LeBron James’s announcement of returning to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers?
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was there and he describes the scene as initial “madness” followed by “two or three hours of a lot of uneasiness.”
Speaking for the first time since King James decided to take his talents from South Beach back to Cleveland, Spoelstra relived the frenzy Tuesday with the Florida Sun Sentintel. Spoelstra said he, team president Riley, and the rest of Miami’s officials needed five minutes to collect themselves to get over the shock of hearing James’s announcement. After that, the Heat brass decided turn the page and try their best to work the pain away via phone calls and texts to their players and agents. Except nobody got back to them, sparking two-three hours of complete uneasiness.
Eventually the phone rang. The first caller?
Chris Bosh. The Heat wound up re-signing their Alll-Star power forward to a five-year, $118 million deal just hours after James made his announcement Friday. Over the weekend, they inked Luol Deng, via a two-year, $20 million contract, to play in place of James at the small forward position. And just yesterday, Miami re-signed its leader Dwyane Wade to a two-year, $31 million deal.
Spoelstra called the grueling stretch “an important three days.” Add the aforementioned deals to the signing of forward Josh McRoberts and guard Danny Granger, and re-signing of Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem and all of a sudden the Heat seem to still be competitive on paper out East. They seemed to have survived James’s Decision 2.0.
Through it all, Spoelstra says he has “no regrets” and while he’s sure that there will be a time that he and James sit down to talk, the coach added that he and the best player in the game forged a bond through competition and great experiences.