Lebron James Tried to Replace Erik Spoelstra with Pat Riley

When Tyronn Lue replaced former Cavs head coach David Blatt in 2016, rumors swirled about Lebron James' hand in the firing. According to Miami Heat President Pat Riley's new book "The Soul of Basketball," it'd be nothing new for the superstar.

In 2010, Riley claims that James approached him more than once about returning to coaching, presumably to replace Heats head coach Erik Spoelstra.

"And I remember LeBron looking at me, and he said, 'Don't you ever get the itch?' I said, 'The itch for what?' He said, 'The itch to coach again?' I said, 'No, I don't have the itch.' He didn't ask any more questions, and I didn't offer any more answers. But I know what it meant, and I always go back and wonder about what he was thinking at that time. He walked out scratching his leg like it was itching."

Riley continued by saying James broached the possibility before even coming to Miami. It was part of free-agent negotiations in July 2010.

"The thought was in their mind at times that maybe I would come back and coach, I think. But I was truly done, I didn't want to get back into it, and Erik is a hell of a coach. He was coming off two good playoff years, but he had not been coaching three superstars. And then with the whole LeBron effect, it would have been a tough transition for any head coach with two years of experience."

James won two NBA Championships with the Heat in 2012 and 2013, and then another with the Cavaliers in 2016. Spoelstra still is the head coach for the Heat.

Photo: Getty Images

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