Well, as local fans we went through one of the most surreal sports experiences of all time, got four trips to the NBA Finals and two championships out of it, and now it's all over. LeBron James has picked the path of the prodigal son and is taking his talents back to Cleveland. Which likely means Chris Bosh will head to Houston.
LeBron announced his decision in a column on Sports Illustrated's website. He said that Miami would always be a "second home" and that his four years in South Beach were like college to him. However, he added that he had always planned on returning to Cleveland.
"Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids," he wrote. "These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing today."
James added that he always wanted to return to Cleveland, and now just seemed like the right time.
"I always believed that I'd return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn't know when. After the season, free agency wasn't even a thought. But I have two boys, and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn't going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy."
Of course, the big question now remains what becomes of the Heat. The team is suddenly sitting on a huge reserve of cap space, but with Bosh likely heading to Houston as per reports and Dwyane Wade aging, the answer isn't immediately clear.