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LeBron watch ends with return to Cleveland Cavaliers

James announces return to Cleveland for SI
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The LeBron James sweepstakes of 2014 were being drawn out longer than the one from four years ago. However, the end to James' latest free agent saga couldn't possibly match up to the ending in 2010, for better or worse. Yet James gave it a shot and certainly provided a better ending for Cleveland on July 11, giving Sports Illustrated -- not ESPN or Jim Gray -- the exclusive that he will lead the Cavaliers once more.

Sports Illustrated's website posted James' second decision over an hour ago, as it came in an essay instead of a television special. He said that "My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question" -- worded a little differently from his "not five, not six, not seven," line when he arrived in Miami. But he added that "what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio."

Revealing that "I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there," James stated that he wasn't going to leave Miami for any other team. Claiming he wasn't thinking about free agency after the offseason, James started changing his mind when he thought about "what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown."

When it came to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and his infamous, bitter letter in summer 2010, James said, "We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?" At this point, the city of Cleveland and Cavaliers fans everywhere may have the exact same feeling. Still, Miami Heat owner Mickey Arison was far more classy in his goodbye, saying "Thanks for the memories" on Twitter.

Classy or not, Arison now runs a Heat team that has no James, will likely lose Chris Bosh to the Houston Rockets and has no one to entice new agents except an aging Dwayne Wade. Meanwhile, Gilbert now has the means and the star power to try and get Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, forging a new Big Three with James and Kyrie Irving -- not to mention Andrew Wiggins if they can keep him.

The NBA, the Heat and Cavaliers have now been changed forever, like they were four years ago. Now will James and Cleveland get that one title together out of it for their perfect ending?

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