LeBron James finally addressed Andrew Wiggins' absence in the Sports Illustrated letter where the superstar announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. James mentioned Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters by name as "talented young guys," and he left out No. 1 overall picks Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, who both ended up being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love.
"I didn't know the kid, really," James told Yahoo Sports' Michael Lee. "I knew Dion. I knew Kyrie. I knew Tristan. I knew all the guys that I was playing with before. I didn't know the kid, so it wasn't no big issue to me."
A few thoughts:
1. Maybe it wasn't a big issue for James, but it was obvious that everybody else would run with it. The Love-for-Wiggins rumors were in full swing, and the then-19-year-old's summer got awkward when it took until Aug. 23 for the trade to be officially completed. I'll never forget him telling reporters at summer league how excited he was to play with James, and them following up by asking if James had reached out to him yet. Wiggins said no. I'll also never forget him saying the same thing in this SportsCenter interview at the rookie photo shoot:
2. James didn't know Wiggins well, but they weren't completely unfamiliar. Wiggins put on a show at the LeBron James Skills Academy in 2012, and here's another thing I'll never forget: Wiggins quietly waiting outisde of the visiting locker room at the Air Canada Centre in 2013 when the Miami Heat were in town. When James came out, he greeted Wiggins with, "What's up? You good? How's everything?"
3. This is all moot now. As Lee explained in detail, everybody seems happy with what happened. James wanted to play with Love, a proven superstar, and compete for a championship immediately. Wiggins didn't have to wait his turn; in Minnesota, he was given the ball and encouraged to be as aggressive as possible. It's fair to wonder what might have been with Wiggins next to James, but it doesn't seem like there are any hard feelings.