It wasn't over, but it was, and LeBron James was standing by himself at the corner of the Miami Heat bench -- more than three minutes left in the last game of this season, maybe the last game of a lot more than that -- watching teammates hug. And he wanted nothing to do with it. What was he thinking? A penny for those thoughts. Chris Bosh was grabbing teammates and squeezing them, and LeBron moved a little farther away, now on the baseline, as close to some of the photographers as he was to his teammates. The San Antonio Spurs had almost three minutes left to name their score in Game 5 of the NBA Finals -- they settled on 104-87 to finish off a 4-1 series win -- and LeBron was standing as he had played all night, all series: All by himself. Bosh never got that hug. LeBron had moved too far away. But when 38-year-old Ray Allen, a future Hall of Famer and the classiest man on the team, started hugging his way down the bench, LeBron relented. He took a few steps toward Allen, toward the rest of his teammates, and allowed himself to be hugged. And then LeBron took a step back, away from everyone, and hung his head as the final minutes of the final game ticked away. He was pondering, but what? The Decision 2.0? Staying in Miami? Going back to Cleveland? Uniting with Carmelo Anthony? That's where this offseason is headed, another voyage with LeBron, even if that voyage ultimately docks again in Miami. LeBron isn't the 2014 MVP or a member of the 2014 NBA champion, but in 2014 he remains the best and most powerful player in the league, the guy every team will want next season and the guy almost everyone else will want to play with. What happens next won't impact just LeBron's future. It will impact the whole league. He is that much of a draw, the same force of nature who led a nothing Cleveland team to the 2007 NBA Finals and then led the Miami Heat, who looked a lot like those nothing Cavaliers in these 2014 NBA Finals, to four consecutive final appearances and to NBA titles in 2012 and '13.
The Decision 2.0: Where will LeBron James end up after this debacle?
CBS Sports | Jun 16