LeBron has now changed teams twice after scoring 27 PPG.You may think that LeBron James was the first player to leave Cleveland, win two championships in Miami and then return to the shores of Lake Erie, but he’s not.
Long before James there was Hall of Fame NFL receiver Paul Warfield who spent six seasons (1964-69) with the Browns before being traded to Miami where he won two Super Bowls in five years (1970-74) with the Dolphins, including as part of the 1972 Perfect 17-0 season. After spending a year in the World Football League Warfield returned to Cleveland for his two final NFL seasons (1976-77).
The major difference is that LeBron, like only Gail Goodrich before him among (current or extremely likely) Hall of Famers, is returning prior to his 30th birthday with many prime playing days ahead.
Point of Departure
Scorers of his magnitude do not often change teams yet this is the second time LeBron James sought a change of scenery following a season in which he averaged at least 27 PPG.
Over the past 30 years only three others – Tracy McGrady who went from the Magic to the Rockets in 2004, Adrian Dantley who went from the Jazz to the Pistons in 1986, and Kiki Vandeweghe who landed in Portland after averaging over 29 PPG for the Nuggets—changed teams after dropping in 27 or more per contest.
Odds and Ends
Once LeBron James announced that he’ll return to the Cavaliers next season, oddsmakers in Las Vegas were sent scrambling. According to the Las Vegas Superbook - Hotel & Casino, Cleveland is now a 4-1 favorite to win the 2014-15 Pro Basketball Championship. Cleveland’s odds opened at 60-1 while Miami opened as a 2-1 favorite and are now 40-1.
Top of the Charts
LeBron James Cavaliers Career Rankings (Regular Season)
With all due respect to Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and even Foots Walker, there’s no disputing the greatest player in Cavaliers history. LeBron James leads the franchise in most major categories. Those that he doesn’t will be sure to fall in swift succession over the next four years.
Who’s No. 1? Take Your Pick.
Should the Cavs stand pat right now they would have the first roster with four top-overall draft picks since the 1986-87 through 1988-89 Showtime Lakers featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1969), Mychal Thompson (1978), Magic Johnson (1979) and James Worthy (1982). James (2003) joins Kyrie Irving (2011), Anthony Bennett (2013) and Andrew Wiggins (2014).
King When It Counts
The 2014-15 Cavaliers are getting one of the greatest postseason performers ever. James’ career PER of 27.7 in the postseason is second only to Michael Jordan’s 28.6 (with a minimum of 50 playoff game appearances). The average NBA postseason PER is 15.
James had a string of six straight seasons leading the league in player efficiency rating (PER) snapped in 2013-14 when he finished second to Kevin Durant. Only Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan have led the league in PER more often than James.