Greatest free agency signings in NBA history: 2. LeBron James- Cleveland Cavaliers, 2014
When LeBron James initially left his hometown Cavs for South Florida in 2010, they became the worst franchise in the NBA. That’s not hyperbole; the Cavs literally had the worst record in the NBA in James’ four-year absence. Keep in mind that in three of those years Cleveland held the number one overall pick, though they scored a star player with two of those selections (Kyrie Irving, and using the 2014 selection, Andrew Wiggins, to get Kevin Love).
None of that mattered when James returned home, as his presence alongside Love and Irving made the Cavs instant championship contenders.
As was the case in Miami, it took a while for the three stars to adjust to each other’s styles and tendencies (read: for Irving and Love to adjust their styles and tendencies around LeBron’s game), but they eventually figured it out, became one of the best offenses in the association, won 53 games, and reached the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, injuries and the somewhat surprising ascent of the Golden State Warriors did them in.
However, the 2016 Finals went a bit differently. Down 3-1 in best-of-seven to those same Warriors, LeBron and the Cavs completed the greatest comeback in Finals history as this block and Kyrie Irving’s clutch 3 gave the Cavs their first title.
LeBron’s second run in Cleveland went about as you would expect, he averaged .221 WS/48 in four years. Most importantly, he helped brim his city its first major sports championship since 1964.