One of the more intriguing subplots of the NBA Finals is the vague and cryptic secret motivation of LeBron James.
After the Cleveland Cavaliers won Game 2 over the Golden State Warriors this past Sunday, James claimed he had “some other motivation that I won’t talk about right now” when it comes to what’s driving him to try and win a title. Since saying this, the internet has gone wild trying to figure out just what the heck he’s referring to.
Is it the idea of cementing his legacy by dragging a team without two of its All-Stars to the finish line? Is it some sort of challenge from Miami Heat President Pat Riley, with whom James may or may not have left on unfriendly terms? Is it the drive to prove that, even though Steph Curry won the MVP this season, James is still the best player in the NBA?
All of these and more have been floated around as the possible reasoning behind James’ veiled motivation. In some way or another, they’re all valid. At the same time, these are all for the most part relatively unsurprising, and wouldn’t really be worth this much secrecy on James’ part.
So, let’s try and see if we can dive a little deeper into what James may be referring to. To me, one of the more curious possibilities for this motivation may somehow revolve around one of James’ former Heat teammates.
According to NBC Sports, James may have let slip the fact Heat guard Dwyane Wade is aware of what this motivation could be. In James’ own words, he claimed Wade “tried to get the secret motivation out of me, and I didn’t give it to him either, even though I told him.”
Wait, what? Wade tried to get it out of him, James didn’t tell him, even though he told him? Disregarding the severely confusing statement by James, is it possible Wade might be involved in this motivation?
What if, and this is just spit-balling here, Wade told James “if you can win a championship in Cleveland, I’ll join the Cavs”?
Yes, I’m 100% aware this wreaks of a click-bait rumor which really has no legs. That said, it may not be as crazy as it sounds.
We all know about Wade’s current situation in Miami. Consistently asked to take less money in order to allow the Heat a chance to bolster their roster, Wade apparently is a little incensed the team may be requesting he do this again this summer. He’s reportedly been promised a few times that Miami would reward him for taking deals below his value, but the team hasn’t quite lived up to this yet. As a result, there are now whispers in the wind claiming Wade may opt out this summer.
On top of this, we all know how close Wade and James are. What if Wade, growing tired of Riley and the Heat low-balling him, would rather just rejoin James, this time in Cleveland?
What makes this more intriguing is a storyline we ran into back in December. During a Christmas Day matchup between Miami and the Cavs, it appeared James told Wade “if things aren’t better this year, we’re gonna reunite again and do some bigger and better things, all right?”
The speculation was that James, at the time on a Cavs team still struggling to find its game, was hinting a return to Miami. However, what if we got it all wrong? What if James wasn’t referring to things not getting better in Cleveland, but with the Heat? What if those bigger and better things were meant to be with the Cavs?
Anyone else starting to hear the “Twilight Zone” theme yet? Just me?
Obviously, the biggest caveat with this situation would be that, if Wade is unhappy about not getting enough money in Miami, said situation won’t get much better in Cleveland. The Cavs have a laundry list of players on their current roster they need to worry about re-signing, so it’s tough to believe Wade’s name would vault above Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and others when it comes to offseason priorities.
At the end of the day, something like this sure doesn’t sound too likely. If asked to give a percentage as far as the chances this is James’ mysterious motivation, I’d say 3.5% seems accurate. Everyone seems to be trying to figure out what this secret motivation is, so I figured I’d throw my hat into the ring.
But, hey, a Cavs team being led at point guard by a no-name-turned-cult-hero in Matthew Dellavedova is two wins away from a title. It’s safe to say crazier things have indeed happened.