Over the course of four years, LeBron James has gone from the sacrifice king to the potentially selfish, greedy tyrant. At least this is the way media rumor and innuendo are making him appear to the public.
“Bosh and Wade are intent on returning to Miami, but neither of them knows what James will do,” reported ESPN’s Chris Broussard.
“LeBron James is seeking a one- or two-year contract with the Miami Heat at maximum-dollar value per year,” said John Canzano of the Oregonian.
These quotes sound great — for print and television — but in actuality none of us actually know what is going on in the Chosen One’s head. In fact, we can’t even begin to sort through his thoughts because the man isn’t speaking. For all we know, he is in complete cooperation with Chris Bosh, Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade and is simply using his agent’s rendezvous with other organizations as a diversion to gain more chatter.
But even if “sources” are spreading the truth in these reporters, who are we to say that James does not have the right to dangle Miami’s future over the ledge? Some people would go as far as to argue that he not only has the right to do it, but a duty to. After all, he has been the Heat’s resident mister-do-everything for what would equate to eight semesters worth of college time.
That includes carrying the team for a third of the season — without Wade — while leading the squad in four of five of the league’s major statistical categories. Still James is yet to accept a max contract in his 11 years of NBA basketball. Now ponder that as you begin to hear about players like Gordon Hayward possibly receiving one, after averaging nine points and two rebounds fewer than James as a four-year role player for the Utah Jazz.
In an era where mediocrity is rewarded and excellence is expected to come with a sacrifice, short deals and big money are the quickest ways to keep pressure on Riley to keep retooling the roster.