Once again the off-season finds something superficial about LeBron James to bring out. Last year it was his hair line getting the attention. This year? Him slimming down, while also trying to show his general manager skills in his attempt to make champions out of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
How is LeBron James playing general manager? He helped recruit James Jones and Mike Miller to the team, hoping to rekindle some of the magic that helped him win two NBA championships with the Miami Heat, although Jones had a very little part in all of that success. The Kevin Love trade idea hasn’t come from nowhere, and James has been talking to Love, convincing the Power Forward to make a push for a trade to Cleveland.
Andrew Wiggins? According to the rookie, he and James haven’t spoken once since he got drafted. It’s not very nice sparking up conversation with someone when you’re trying to move him as part of your attempts to build a championship team. David Griffin might be the general manager by name. Dan Gilbert is the owner who doesn’t shy away from basketball decisions. However, the fingerprints of LeBron James are all over this one.
James has also been trying to convince free agents Shawn Marion and Ray Allen to join the Cleveland Cavaliers who are quickly setting themselves up to be the clear favorites to win the Eastern conference, with the Chicago Bulls looking like the only team that stands a chance of getting in their way. He has now met David Blatt, his new head coach, for the first time. Blatt may have been hired for his coaching skills observed in European basketball, but it’s quite clear that since LeBron James has been signed, someone else is running the show.
James isn’t your ordinary superstar. He isn’t just the best player on the team or in the league. For all the hate he receives through social media, he is the most popular and well known player in the NBA. The biggest financial benefit to a team, a one man economic super power, who is getting paid max money for a reason. Not just his skills or the jersey sales, but his ability to immediately change the fortunes of a team with his basketball skills and the ability to bring in more talent; guys that are willing to make sacrifices in order to play alongside him.
At least that was the case four years ago when he made the switch from Cleveland to Miami. Things might be a bit different as he is four months away from turning 30. Juggling too many balls at once might end up harming him and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the long run. But this team, this player, are about the now. Not about building for the future. His contract, his off-season moves, are all about winning the championships right away, before he’s no longer the player and attraction he is at the moment.