Before writing anything I wanted to completely digest the entire James affair, from the rampant speculation by “insiders” to the reaction by a city of children. It was a strange scene to say the least and reaction certainly did not go the way the James team had planned. LeBron has definitely hurt his image in the eyes of many, but why? Do people hate David Robinson for quitting on a season in order to get a better chance at the number one pick? Do people hate Paul Pierce for doing the same thing the year before KG and Ray Allen arrived? Should LeBron have just stayed in Cleveland because he was born near there? I really don’t understand the vitriol and the notion that somehow people were held hostage. Was anyone tied to a chair and forced to watch “The Decision”? If so perhaps you should call the police and not you local sports talk show. ESPN did not help the situation with its out of control hype machine. They do not know what subtlety means. There is plenty of blame and eye rolling to go around for the whole cast of characters.
LeBron was naive to think that this would build his brand to a new level, especially considering the cities and owners he was dealing with. I really have no issue with the whole process, but I would have liked it better if Wade and Bosh were there with him. He absolutely made the correct basketball decision by going to the situation that gives him the best opportunity to win multiple titles and be on the top of the league season after season. The Cavs are a bad team without him, not mediocre, they are bad. In seven seasons they could not find a way to get a legitimate second option. If they had done a better job building their team, maybe he would have stayed. The Knicks suck, plain and simple. Bad owner, bad style of play, bad free agent signing with Amare Stoudemire and no shot to win a title any time soon. Chicago was a viable option but I just think Miami was a little better. LeBron no longer worked for the Cavs. His contract was up and he owes them and the city nothing. He was payed for seven years and certainly earned his salary, to say otherwise is just being bitter.
Cleveland’s reaction to this was pathetic and childish. From an ownership rant to the fans burning jerseys, it was a display of complete idiocy. This is a business, nothing more. James was drafted by the Cavs, he did not choose the Cavs. In the end Dan Gilbert and his organization did not do a good enough job to keep their most important asset. Could anyone else on the Cavs roster even start for the Celtics or Lakers? In seven years you could not find one complimentary player of significant talent and you expected him to stay? Fans piss and moan all the time about players only going for the money and not gong for the best chance to win. So what happens when a player goes for the best chance to win over money? Fans call him a coward, backstabber and much worse I’m sure. Sorry Cleveland but Bosh did not want to live in your town and that was the final nail in you coffin. Oh and good luck with Dan Gilbert, I’m sure he will win plenty of titles over the next ten years.
The most delusion fans in all of this, however, were the Knicks fans. This notion that MSG is some basketball Mecca is bizarre. The Knicks are an historically mediocre to bad franchise. Currently they are one of the worst organizations in the NBA. Why the hell would anyone, who wanted to win, go to a team that hasn’t won since the early 1970′s and has been in the toilet for the last decade? What are the selling points? A coach that doesn’t know the meaning of defense, a free agent who didn’t begin to rebound and play defense until the second half of last season (right in time for free agency), or an owner who thought it was a good idea to send Isiah Thomas to recruit James. The only reason the Knicks were in the running was because it is NYC.
If you want to hate LeBron or call him a coward or whatever else, go ahead but realize this is a business and James had the hammer. If you don’t think people like Gilbert and the Dolans have used the hammer to make their fortunes you are a fool. James, Wade and Bosh had leverage and they used it to their own benefit. It’s the same thing anyone of use would have done in our jobs. If you are valuable enough to ask for a raise or take another opportunity at another company you would do it and if you didn’t you’d only be cheating yourself.