By now you know me as a Heat fan. Most of you know me as one of the more genuine Heat fans around. I hopped on board the bandwagon in 1995 when Alonzo Mourning, my favourite player of all time, first pulled on a Heat jersey.
Usually, when I defend LeBron I get fed the “your love for LeBron is sickening” response. That comes regardless of whether my defence is logical or a little bit more protective of one of the guys on my team. If you were around me prior to the decision, you know I didn’t want LeBron to sign with Miami. See, Dwyane Wade is my #2 guy of all time, and LeBron was obviously going to threaten his mantle as the leader of our team. That being said, once he made his choice, he was one of us.
Finally, I can admit that LeBron is at fault for something. You can blame him for the stupid scenario’s that are going to play out from here on when a superstar hints that he wants to change teams.
When LeBron (and Chris Bosh) chose to move on from the teams that drafted them, never before had their been bigger shockwaves sent through free agency. Sure, big names had signed in free agency before but this was BIG.
Fast forward to season 2010/11. The newly formed Heat went about their business while up in Colorado, Carmelo Anthony was approaching a free agency of his own. Now as teams learned from the summer of 2010, you simply can’t hope for the best come free agency. If your star decides it’s time to move on, you can only hope for a few draft picks in return as part of a sign and trade agreement as Cleveland and Toronto found. Or you can choose to let your star walk and be left with nothing. Or you can take early action and trade then while they’re yours.
Players are the commodities of the NBA. If you have one that is hot property, you simply can’t afford to let them walk for nothing.
So the Denver Nuggets did the right thing. They capitalised on ‘Melo. They effectively convinced the team that Anthony was determined to join, to send 4 of their 5 starters their way. Four starters, for one. Not a bad reward when you compare it to a couple draft picks down the line somewhere, or worse – nothing.
Admittedly, Anthony handled it poorly. Right or wrong, he should’ve found a way to let the Knicks know that he was coming their way next off season, so don’t gut your roster.
Keep in mind, I am leaving out the dollar factor here and talking about the situation in general.
Anthony wanted out. He wanted to go to New York. The position that put the Nuggets in was that other teams simply wouldn’t part with their own assets to get a player in return who would likely bolt in free agency. Fair enough.
The then New Jersey Nets pushed hard for Anthony. They had a good package on the table and the Nuggets liked their deal. However, ‘Melo simply would not commit long term.
Move forward to Dwight Howard.
Apparently, the Houston Rockets are preparing to make a run at Dwight. A move that has already been squashed according to David Aldridge, with team Dwight announcing he won’t stay their beyond this season.
Same situation. Superstar player, wants to move on from the team drafted him (wait…nope he just changed his mind. Hang on, nope he wants to leave again…) and has his eyes set on a particular destination (Brooklyn).
Now Dwight has appeared to handle this situation disgracefully. But that’s based on what has been reported, we don’t really know what has and hasn’t happened.
But essentially, if he wants to move on to a new team when his time comes that is his right. On the flip side of that, if the Magic believe that he wants to move on it’s obviously in their best interest to make hay while the sun shines and get something in return for him.
Now it gets messy again.
If Dwight has his mind set on relocating to Brooklyn and nowhere else, that’s his choice.
Interestingly, Dwight may have also learned from Carmelo’s mistake. He may be trying his darndest to get to Brooklyn without the Nets having to gut their already thin roster. That’s smart business on his part. It might look bad, but the whole mind changing every 5 minutes thing could be his best attempt to convince Orlando not to trade him. Reportedly, his attempt has failed and they’re ready to move him.
If other teams want to trade for Dwight, that’s their right. But if they want to know whether Dwight would be willing to commit to them longtime before giving up assets to get him, that’s also their right.
See what LeBron did is make teams nervous about superstars who are approaching off seasons that see them become unrestricted free agents.
So essentially we can blame the fiasco that is “superstars approaching free agency” on LeBron and sure you can even pin it on Bosh a little bit. But there is no answer to it.
Players have a right to choose where they go as free agents. Teams have a right to try and trade those players before time is up. Teams that are willing to trade for that player have a right to ask the question whether they would consider signing long term or not. Players have a right to say no.
There would only be one way to prevent this. Have every player contract end in restricted free agency. The NBA owners tried to install such a rule during the lockout. Essentially, the players are never going to agree to anything that would put the control of where they play solely in the teams hands.
The teams get 4 years to please players from the time they’re drafted (remember we’re talking superstars here so I’m assuming they’re lottery picks). After that, the control is out of their hands as to whether the player wants to stay with them or move on. If they choose the latter, grab the popcorn and tissues because more soap operas are sure to play out in the years to come.
So yes, this one is all your fault LeBron.
Don’t like what I’ve got to say? That’s cool, neither does my wife. But feel free to comment below.