As we await yet another grand decision from LeBron James, it seems more and more likely each day that the most talented basketball player on the planet right now won’t be returning to the Miami Heat next season, which contradicts the initial thoughts of everyone when we first learned James was choosing to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.
What we’re learning now should almost be disturbing for those who admire James, for any reason from his on-court play to the way he handles the tremendous spotlight. James’ agent, Rich Paul, invited three teams — the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns — to basically hear his pitch for his client. And he suggested to those present that they could have the opportunity to personally meet with James, should Miami president Pat Riley fail to equip the team with better cast members in a timely manner.
Yes, the man who can do anything on a basketball court, the man who literally has the perfect physique, the man who demands trophies and rings is apparently in need of even better players than the ones he’s been equipped with in Miami.
James has been in Miami for four years. How many years has he been to the Finals in that stretch? Yes, four. And how many rings does he have from those four trips? Two. What in the world is wrong with that? When you team up with guys like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and eventually Ray Allen, you better be making trips (plural) to the NBA Finals.
This whole idea of teaming up with other superstars from around the league is like a poison. It’s almost the expectation now. When one guy has the opportunity to jump ship to another team for a mega contract, the automatic question that follows is, who joins him? Who helps take that team and put it way over the top?
For James to say he’ll leave Miami if Riley can’t get him better players to alongside him is to say he’s not incredibly interested in leaving a footprint. He knows how the superstars of old did it — they wanted to play and beat each other on the court. Why join forces and make most of the rest of the league look puny? What are you proving by doing that?
Personally, I hope James does leave Miami, for whatever reason. I think we could all use a change in scenery, and I’m ready for jokes about Heat fans to stop, but I sincerely hope he doesn’t join forces with other superstars. I want him to find a team in the middle of the pack and put it over the top. Will that happen? Probably not. But it’s worth hoping for.