(CNN) -

Forget the burned jerseys. Never mind The Letter. LeBron James won titles in Miami but his heart was in Cleveland, and he's ready to go home.

James told Sports Illustrated for a story published Friday that he'll leave the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers -- a sensational return to his home region that he devastated when he left via free agency in 2010.

"I always believed that I'd return to Cleveland and finish my career there," the four-time NBA MVP said in a piece he wrote with SI's Lee Jenkins. "I just didn't know when."

"I looked at other teams," the 29-year-old wrote, "but I wasn't going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy."

No terms were released, and the Cavs said no contract had been signed as of early Friday afternoon. When James will sign the contract has yet to be determined, Cavaliers Senior Vice President Tad Carper said.

Numerous reports say that the maximum salary in the first year of a contract for an 11-year NBA veteran, like James, is $20.64 million, though there are exceptions.

His move marks the end of a four-year partnership with stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami -- a run that saw James get his first two NBA titles.

But the return to the Cavaliers, which drafted James in 2003, allows the prodigal son and his native community to reconnect after a separation that shook both. The lakeside city that is long starved for a professional sports championship embraced him Friday.

Fans drove past his Cleveland-area home and honked horns after the news spread. Patrons at a restaurant gushed when a reporter asked what they thought of the move.

"LBJ's coming home! Can't wait! Championship!" a man told CNN affiliate WEWS.

"Cleveland fans are trying to figure out how to unburn their LeBron jerseys," Twitter user nic_johnston44 wrote.

Pat Riley, the Heat president who lured James away in 2010, said Friday that although he was disappointed, "no one can fault another person for wanting to return home."

"The last four years have been an incredible run for South Florida, Heat fans, our organization and for all of the players who were a part of it. LeBron is a fantastic leader, athlete, teammate and person, and we are all sorry to see him go," Riley said.

What about The Letter? "We've talked it out"

In 2010, James and marquee free agent Bosh left their teams to join Wade in Miami -- with James, looking for NBA championships, famously announcing his move in an ESPN special called "The Decision."

After reaching four straight NBA finals with Miami, James exercised his contract option this summer to become a free agent two years early.

James was a Cleveland hero, growing up some 45 miles away in Akron and starring seven years with the Cavs. But his 2010 departure -- and the way he did it, telling ESPN that he was "taking my talents to South Beach" -- rankled the people of Cleveland, with fans burning James jerseys and stomping on his likeness.

If those fans torched the figurative bridge, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert seemingly vaporized it with a scathing letter blasting James' "cowardly betrayal" and, in a forecast that didn't quite pan out, promising that the Cavs would win an NBA title "before the self-titled former 'king' wins one."

How could James return to the team after that?

"I've met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We've talked it out," the Sports Illustrated story reads. "Everybody makes mistakes. I've made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?