Done deal. LeBron James and Chris Bosh are members of the Miami Heat.
The Heat completed sign-and-trade deals with Cleveland and Toronto last night for their two newest superstars. The Heat sent two future first-round and two second-round picks to the Cavaliers for James, while packaging two first-round picks to the Raptors for Bosh.
James, Bosh, and Dwyane Wade all signed six-year contracts, each leaving millions of dollars on the table to provide the Heat flexibility to build a championship roster. They could have made $16.6 million apiece this season, but took less money — none would say how much less — to get the deals done.
Earlier, with 13,000 fans chanting “Yes We Did!’’ the Heat welcomed the NBA’s newest trio of superstars for a celebration last night at American Airlines Arena unlike just about any other in team history.
“I understand now that I’ve made the right decision,’’ James said.
The three all arrived accompanied by plumes of smoke, lifted into the air on a forklift for their grand arrival. Great fanfare. Great expectations.
“It’s still surreal, man,’’ Wade said earlier. “Me, Chris and ’Bron. We ready. We want to go to the gym now.’’
Wade was in the middle as the trio was lifted skyward for the entrance — Bosh on his right, James on his left. Bosh pointed to the fans and screamed, while Wade aimed his index fingers at the crowd and James strutted about to the fans’ delight.
They walked down the stairs to a long runway, slapping high-fives with fans, clapping their hands and soaking in the atmosphere.
“It feels right,’’ James said. “To be in this position, to wear the Heat uniform, everything is nice. We’re going to make the world know that the Heat is back.’’
Naturally, James promised championships. Multiple championships.
“That’s the only reason I’m here, man,’’ James said.
Next up for Miami: Deals for Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem, both expected to be done in the coming days, and a planned meeting with Lakers point guard Derek Fisher.
James will wear No. 6 instead of 23. Bosh will don No. 1 instead of No. 4, Wade said, because he “wanted a new beginning.’’ Wade will remain No. 3.
But in Cleveland, charred remains of a torched James jersey were scattered on a sidewalk across the street from Quicken Loans Arena.
Workers prepared to remove a massive 100-foot-high billboard of James, his arms outstretched, that has been a downtown tourist attraction for years.
Shortly after James announced he was leaving, owner Dan Gilbert fired off an incendiary letter to Cleveland’s fans, ripping the 25-year-old and promising to deliver a title after James failed.
Gilbert called James’s decision “cowardly’’ and later said he believes James quit during playoff games this year and last. Gilbert’s shocking accusation and pointed remarks were the talk of Cleveland and drew criticism from around the league.