Antawn Jamison Remembers Feeling ‘Numb’ After LeBron James Deserted Him on Cavs in 2010

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the passage of a decade, former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Antawn Jamison still feels the sting of LeBron James’ departure from the team as a free agent in 2010.

Jason Lloyd of The Athletic looked at the long road the Cavaliers took to come back from James’ shocking 2010 departure, with Jamison recalling the stunned feeling he experienced upon hearing the news.

“I just remember sitting down in my office thinking, ‘There’s no way (LeBron) is going to leave me here in Cleveland,’” Jamison said. “We have unfinished business. The playoffs didn’t go the way we wanted. You know how you get that numb pit in your stomach? He made his decision and it was just a little bit of numbness. Disappointment.”

Jamison had been acquired by the Cavaliers from the Washington Wizards in February of that year as the team sought to bolster its roster for the playoffs.

That playoff run ended in a loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. James signed with the Miami Heat two months later.

James’ departure turned the Cavaliers from title contenders into a bottom-dwelling franchise that won a combined 40 games over the next two seasons.

Jamison remained on the Cavaliers during those two subsequent seasons, but left in 2012 when he signed to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. The following year, Jamison stayed in Los Angeles, playing for the Lakers’ city rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers

In February 2014, Jamison was dealt to the Atlanta Hawks at the trade deadline and subsequently released.

In 2014, James returned to the Cavaliers and led them to four consecutive appearances in the finals, including a historic comeback in the 2016 finals that gave the franchise its first and only title.

Despite playing 16 seasons in the NBA, Jamison never got to be part of a championship team and has been left to ponder what might have been had James stayed with the Cavaliers past 2010.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.