Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Dirk Nowitzki, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan and J. J. Reddick. All six players have one thing in common with LeBron James, and yet James stands out from the crowd.
All six players are now Free Agents, after Golden State ended the NBA season last night. The Warriors, thanks to Durant making the leap to join Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, have won two strait titles and three of the last four. It’s true the defining factor between the Warriors and Cavaliers over the past four years has been Durant.
Without Durant, the Warriors are a different team. Yes they have a better surrounding cast than the Cavs. However could Curry carry Golden State all the way? Probably not. That will be the legacy Curry will leave. He needed help. NBA players are constantly concerned with their legacy. Durant’s legacy will always be tainted by the fact he left a winning team in Oklahoma State, and went to a championship caliber team.
So what do the six have that James does not? The six aforementioned players have all gone through their free agency season without constant questions, articles and commentary on where they will be heading next year. All were able to play out their contracts without controversy on where and who they will play with. And why is that? What makes them any different? Or is it just because James is the game today?
Why not questions about Nowitzki? He has won only one title in Dallas. His career is coming to an end. Yet he has never been covered with the anticipation of going anywhere else. Of the six, he would be most likely to get that kind of coverage. Yet there is none.
James couldn’t even get through the final post game press conference Friday night without questions about his future. And he had no answers. “The one thing that I’ve always done is considered, obviously, my family. Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this. I’ve got a teenage boy, a pre-teen, and a little girl that wasn’t around as well.”
We know James’s back story. Growing up without a father, raised by his mother. He has never spoken about his unknown father. Yet here he stands, at the crossroads of not only his career, but his family life. Is his family of paramount concern? Does he put his career above the opportunity of being a present and involved father? Or does he leave Cleveland, while his kids enroll and play ball at Akron St. Vincent St. Mary in Akron?
This is the story the media has not taken into consideration. Family. They have thought only about rosters, endorsements, houses. What do the Lakers have to offer? The thought of Boston and Kyrie is an absolute joke to anyone even thinking. Houston, with Paul and James Harden is an offensive mess. The only possible destination that makes any sense, outside Cleveland, is Philadelphia.
The Sixers have youth, talent and they need a leader. Still, Cleveland offers more. More money, an owner who has done everything James wanted, and more. Plus Cleveland offers LeBron his family. No west coast road trips while his sons open their basketball seasons. No phone calls after games or late night private jet trips home to catch the next day’s games.
Yet Philly may be intriguing. Yet so could Cleveland if LeBron would just say “I’m Staying for good”, sign a long term deal, and work on bringing some real players into the organization. Then he can go after titles.
However, if he does leave again, critics will have only one story left. He’s chasing rings.
Dave Mitchell co-hosts with Mark Donahue the UST talk show “Ohio Baseball Weekly,” highlighting the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. The Show is at 9pm every Monday evening. He also provides play by play of High School and College sports. If you have a comment on this or any other article,email Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @ohbbcohost or @ultsportstalk.