LeBron James’ famous decision of joining the Miami Heat in 2010 is a recurrent topic in the NBA right now. 10 years after the controversial event, people have started to remember how things happened, what took LeBron to make his decision and announce it in a live, prime-time special aired on ESPN.
Before he announced he was going to join the Miami Heat, LeBron had other options to pick, including the Chicago Bulls. At the time, the Bulls were trying to make the same thing Miami did and land Bron, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. They had several meetings with Wade but things fell apart when the Bulls’ recruiting process failed to meet James’ expectations.
The Bulls were willing to let Luol Deng go to make room for their new three players, push for different ways to make room for the Big 3 at the United Center. However, Derrick Rose wasn’t that involved trying to lure LeBron to Chicago, something that made the King changed his mind about going to the Windy City.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently revealed Joakim Noah was in charge of recruiting LeBron, but his relationship with him didn’t help his case.
Nonetheless, with owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s blessing, the Bulls got to work on finding a path to land all three. They tried to move Deng to the LA Clippers, sources say, but were turned down. They talked to Toronto about a sign-and-trade for Bosh — the Raptors began discussing Deng’s fit and possible parameters of a deal, sources say — to leave room to sign Wade and James.
There was another issue for the Bulls, though: Derrick Rose, the team’s young star, wasn’t deeply involved in the recruiting process.
Another of their young players, Joakim Noah, ended up as the primary player voice. Although Noah has a magnetic personality and developed into a star recruiter in his days at the University of Florida, he was not the franchise player. He also had an acrimonious relationship with James. Underscoring that, Noah called James that week, and James never called him back.
Rose declined to be part of the pitch to James, instead recording a video. Being an active recruiter wasn’t part of Rose’s personality, and at age 21, he didn’t have the mindset of an empire-builder.
D-Rose played a big role in how things developed for the Bulls that offseason. Later, he’ll face the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, losing the series in 5 games. He could be on the other side of the street, but his enthusiasm to join forces with James, Bosh and Wade wasn’t there. Instead, the Bulls tried to use Noah, but his attempts were useless.