Former NBA Champion Reveals How LeBron James Tried to Recruit Him For Cleveland Cavaliers

Published 11/07/2020, 11:00 PM EST
Cavaliers forward LeBron James in action against the Clippers on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


How long has it been since LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers and took his talents to Miami Heat? Almost a decade. There was a time when the dream trio, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and Bron believed they could win several championships, not just two, five, or seven. However, during LeBron’s tenure, they made it to four NBA Finals and won only two of them.

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But why did James leave the Cavaliers in the first place? Well, he was exhausted from being the sole superstar in the team. And not being able to add an NBA title to his resume became the biggest reason of them all. Although, before he left for Miami, he was trying to recruit more players for Cleveland. One of those was Brendan Haywood.

The former center was a part of the 2011 NBA Champions, the Dallas Mavericks. With 13 seasons in the league, he has averaged  6.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game.

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LeBron James’ effort to entice Haywood

Lakers Dwight Howard attempts a shot on Heats LeBron James, left, and Udonis Haslem at the Staples Center Thursday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Brendan had an interesting story about how LeBron James wanted him to join the Cavs with a pay cut. He said, “So, it is my free agent year I’m in Dallas, and I made alright money on the first deal that I signed on my rookie deal. But I hadn’t got the big money, I was making like five [million] a year.”

“So, it’s free agency time when [Le] Bron is trying to make his decision on where he is going to go. He was actually recruiting guys to come to Cleveland. So, I’m cool with Jawad Williams, and he gets my number from [him]. Jawad Williams hits me up and is like LeBron wants your number,” revealed Haywood.

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“So, I get a text like ‘Yo, This King James.’ I was like, first of all, why are you calling me. He is like I wanted to know if you would be willing to take a pay cut because I know what you are supposed to get on the market. But, wanting to know if you would be willing to take a pay cut to be a part of something special.”

However, this offer wasn’t intriguing enough for Haywood, and he refused. “I’m thinking to myself, boy, I wouldn’t take a pay cut to play with the 92 Bulls.”

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What’s hilarious is that just later that season, the two had faced each other in the 2011 NBA Finals, in which the Mavericks beat Heat in six games. Later on, LeBron also went back to the Cavs and fulfilled his dream of bringing the franchise a championship. Looks like it all worked out, eventually.

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Yashima Bhatia

1496 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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