The power of LeBron James is displayed maybe more clearly than before in his semi hold out with the Cleveland Cavaliers, waiting for the team to re-sign Tristan Thompson who is looking for, believe it or not, a max contract, just like everyone else. Until that happens, James, who has pretty much promised he won’t be going anywhere else, remains a free agent.
He isn’t taking meetings with other teams or planning on signing with anyone. He’s going to remain with the Cavaliers, and if it wasn’t the case he wouldn’t have let all the good spots fill up and the cap spaces on teams with championship chances to be filled. But James wants to play power games and show who really is in control of the Cavaliers. Not owner Dan Gilbert, not general manager David Griffin or head coach David Blatt. It’s about James calling the shots.
So after using the team option on Timofey Mozgov, re-signing Iman Shumpert and Kevin Love, the Cavaliers are now focused on bringing back Thompson. For how much? Looks like five-year, $80 million, but the talks have stalled. There’s a very big cloud of stink over this entire situation, and while James said he never loved being the villain, he doesn’t come off all that well in this situation, despite being the “returning son” and all.
Tristan Thompson is his friend. And he’s also represented by LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, who is James’ friend, and the two basically run that agency. So basically, James cares more about himself and his friends’ business than the Cavaliers. Maybe it’s just his way of getting back at Dan Gilbert; making the owner of the Cavs to pay through his nose before even signing James to a $22 million one-year deal, and constantly keeping a huge threat over that head.
Who knows, maybe James eventually ends up taking a mid level exception from some team after getting pi$$ed off at the Cavaliers and once again changing the balance of the NBA. It’s weird that it’s come to this, but James cares just as much about being the man in terms of business and power struggles in the NBA/team as he does about winning NBA championships. For someone who cares what people think about him, that doesn’t sound like a very smart thing to do.
Thompson is a restricted free agent, which means the chances of him leaving are very small. But this situation could get complicated and leave unnecessary bad blood between the sides, resulting in James’ sort of promise to not leave the Cavaliers ever again come under serious threat.