Back in July of 2014, when LeBron James announced he would be returning to the Cavaliers with the “I’m Coming Home” letter in Sports Illustrated, many fans were left scratching their heads by a surprising omission from The King.
LeBron mentioned, by name, his excitement of mentoring young players like Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters, and even mentioned how excited he was to be playing with ex-teammate Anderson Varejao. He did not, however, mention Andrew Wiggins, the 2014 No. 1 pick by Cleveland in the NBA draft.
Wiggins would of course be dealt to Minnesota for Kevin Love before James even had the opportunity to play with him, and some were speculating at the time that LeBron’s lack of inclusion of Wiggins in the letter was a sign that he was pushing for the young player to be dealt for the more proven Love.
While it ended up working out for both teams, LeBron’s failure to include Wiggins in the letter was still a curious decision. Thankfully he has finally explained his decision in an interview with Yahoo.
“I didn’t know the kid, really, I knew Dion. I knew Kyrie. I knew Tristan. I knew all the guys that I was playing with before. I didn’t know the kid, so it wasn’t no big issue to me.”
LeBron followed up as well, saying that the trade would end up being a good thing for Wiggins in the long-term.
“I think the best thing about it is he’s getting an opportunity. He doesn’t have to wait in the shadows for anybody,” James told Yahoo. “He’s getting the opportunity to play and show everybody what he’s able to do, and it’s tough because the West has been so thick the [last] few years; there’s not a lot of room to win a bunch of a games. But I think for him, the sky could be the limit.”
James has a great point there. There would have been a tremendous amount of pressure on Wiggins to be a superstar player right away. On the other hand, in Minnesota, he has been allowed to develop at his own pace.
Meanwhile Love has mostly provided what the Cavs have needed, a strong threat from inside-and-out that draws a lot of attention away from James and Kyrie Irving.
It’s the rare deal that was a win-win for both teams, and now the rumor that James left Wiggins out of his letter as a diss can hopefully finally be put to rest.