People in sports announcing things shouldn’t be trusted. Today, LeBron James might say that he’s going to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the rest of his career, but words are wind, and it wouldn’t even be slightly surprising if in the near future he actually thinks about playing elsewhere. When the first thing in line is taking care of yourself, making promises of loyalty doesn’t really mean anything.
But James is saying the right things. Sure, he can opt out of his deal in a season and his contract runs for only two years. According to James it’s just about trying to capitalize on the changes made in the salary cap two years from now, when the NBA gets a new TV deal which means a much bigger salary for everyone. Obviously, that’s part of the though process, but leaving if a better opportunity comes along is also part of the modus operandi.
It’s just common sense. James loves to say that he is a businessman as well as an NBA player. He’s been handling himself like a general manager since signing with the Cavs – pushing for the trade to get Kevin Love, pursuing free agents and landing some of them, although Ray Allen and Shawn Marion are still two players he hasn’t been able to get. Maybe with the track record of Dan Gilbert and David Griffin, it’s a good thing James is doing most of the recruiting.
Loyalty is a nice fancy word NBA fans love throwing around only to be surprised time after time it doesn’t exist. Listening to Timberwolves fans react to Kevin Love being traded to the Cavaliers (not official) was refreshing. Few people called him a traitor, Judas, or back stabber. For Love, the best thing individually was pushing for a trade, and for someone who is chasing playoffs, rings and other achievements, doing what’s best for you in terms of career pit stops is the smart way to go about it.
James has been in Ohio for most of his life. He is obviously connected to the Cavs more than anywhere else, even after two championships and four seasons in Miami with the Heat. And yet his words about being tired of moving, about staying forever, sound hollow. Because of the history. His history, and the way things go on in this league, suggest that nothing is final, and no promise coming from his mouth about never leaving again should be taken too seriously.