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"He's not leaving; he doesn't have the b***s to leave" - Former Cavaliers GM thought LeBron James wouldn't leave Cleveland in 2010, says ex-Cavs coach

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 5
LeBron James during his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers

Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant thought LeBron James wouldn't leave the team in 2010, as said by former coach Bryon Scott. James, though, would famously take his talents to South Beach that summer, which he revealed in a television special called "The Decision" on ESPN.

On a recent episode of "The Byron Scott Podcast," Scott said that Grant was confident of James staying in Cleveland that offseason. Scott had joined Cleveland that same summer and was worried about James leaving. However, Grant assured him that James would remain at home, claiming the player didn't have "the balls" to leave.

"Our general manager, Chris Grant, kept saying to me that LeBron's not leaving," Scott said. "He said, 'He's not leaving. He doesn't have the balls to leave. He's been here all his life. He's not going anywhere.'"
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Grant's confidence would prove misplaced. Scott added that the Cavaliers knew that James might join the Miami Heat. There had been rumors about it, but Grant was not even open to calling the Heat for a potential sign-and-trade deal.

A day before "The Decision" aired, Scott called Chris Paul and asked if he knew about James' decision. Paul is one of James' best friends, so he probably had some insight regarding what was going to happen.

"I go to my office and call Chris Paul," Scott said. "I said, 'CP, this is coach. I need to know from you: Is LeBron leaving or staying?' He said, 'Coach, I'll call you back.' I sit in my office for about three minutes."

Scott continued:

"Phone rings, and I answered it, 'Coach, CP.' I said, 'CP, what's happening?' 'He's gone, coach. He's gone.'"

The LeBron James deal eventually became a sign-and-trade, with the Cavaliers receiving trade compensation, two first-round picks, two second-round picks and a pick swap.

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James ended up winning two championships in Miami, while the Cavaliers would miss the playoffs for four straight years.


LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014

LeBron James returned to Cleveland in the summer of 2014.
LeBron James returned to Cleveland in the summer of 2014.

LeBron James became public enemy No. 1 in Cleveland after joining the Miami Heat. James spent four seasons in South Beach, going to the NBA Finals four times and winning two championships. In the summer of 2014, "The King" returned home and signed with the Cavaliers.

James promised to bring a title to the city and delivered that in 2016. The four-time MVP led the Cavaliers to an NBA Finals win over the Golden State Warriors after being 3-1 down. His second stint in Cleveland lasted four seasons, winning one title in four NBA Finals appearances.

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LeBron James left Cleveland again in the summer of 2018 to join the LA Lakers. He won his fourth championship in 2020 and extended his contract with the Lakers till the 2024-25 NBA season. He has a player option in the final year of his deal, opening up the possibility of joining the Cavaliers for a third time.

The four-time champion was linked with his former team earlier this year but chose to remain with the Lakers. However, the Cavaliers are building a contender after the acquisition of Donovan Mitchell. If Cleveland somehow drafts LeBron's son, Bronny, in 2024, LeBron could move to the Cavaliers again.

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Edited by Bhargav
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