I made a promise to myself the day after the Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs that I was not going to allow myself to write about LeBron James and his free agency choice. I’d like to think that I’m generally good at keeping promises, but this is one that’s been impossible to keep.
So yes, here comes yet another LeBron James article. This one is brought on by Dwyane Wade’s recent comments regarding the 2010 NBA Free Agent Summit he and LeBron are planning on hosting.
The comments really seemed to remind me a lot of the relationship Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley had. Jordan was always the quiet one, the business man, the one who was always careful to keep the media at a safe distance. LeBron is much the same way. It was LeBron who said early this season that he would no longer talk about his free agency, and he kept his word. Even now, we haven’t heard a single word from LeBron since the Cavs were eliminated by the Celtics in the playoffs.
Charles Barkley, on the other hand, was always upfront and loved to talk to the media. In regards to this summer’s free agency pool, the media has had to rely on Dwyane Wade for quotes, and Wade has been more than happy to oblige.
So once again we find ourselves in a situation where it’s Wade who says that he and LeBron and Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson (and why stop there? Why not invite Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, and Dirk Nowitzki to the party? Perhaps we can even get Ray Allen, Brendan Haywood, Rudy Gay, and David Lee involved, eh?) are going to sit down and discuss their free agency together.
It’s all getting to be too much overkill. Aren’t we taking ourselves a little too seriously here? It’s basketball. A game. The NBA existed before Dwyane Wade and LeBron James and it will exist after they are long gone. This isn’t a UN Summit where nations are sitting together to discuss peace. It’s a bunch of incredibly wealthy celebrity athletes getting together to discuss how they can best influence the future direction of the competitive balance in the league.
Of course, the Catch 22 for these guys is that they can’t all play together. So how, exactly, is this summit going to go? Is Wade going to just sit there and listen while LeBron and Bosh conspire to join forces in New York? Will LeBron be content to say he wants to stay in Cleveland while everyone else there draws straws to see who gets to play with Wade? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a group of friends wanting to get together to discuss their future together. I’ve confided in my friends when contemplating career moves in the past and I’m sure I’ll do so again in the future. So this really isn’t anything new or unusual.
The point here, though, is that the overexposure is putting things like this into a different perspective or context. This isn’t the first time Wade has said he, LeBron, and Bosh would be discussing their future together. All along it’s been Wade who has been talking about the future….where he would play, where LeBron would play, whether they can play together, what kind of city Cleveland is compared to Miami, etc. You just want to say enough is enough.
And so of course now people are trying to read into just the acknowledgement of the existence of a planned meeting. Mind you, people aren’t trying to figure out what teams will be discussed in these meetings. Oh no…they’re trying to figure what just the simple existence of the meeting means. “Does it mean LeBron is leaving Cleveland? Because clearly if he was staying there wouldn’t be any reason for him to attend such meeting.” “Does this mean LeBron, Wade, and Bosh are going to try to orchestrate sign and trades to become the new ‘Big 3’?” It’s just rampant speculation about nothing at all.
If you want to get excited or worked up over anything Dwyane Wade said, why don’t we start with his thoughts on loyalty. When asked about the Chicago Bulls organization, Wade expressed some hesitance on his part with respect to the loyalty the Bulls organization has shown to past stars, saying:
“I see Michael Jordan is not there, Scottie Pippen is not there…So that is probably one of the biggest things for me, because I am a very loyal person.”
He later added:
“I don’t know about their loyalty because I haven’t been in their organization. The only organization I have been in is in Miami, so I do know the front office, I do know the loyalty of this team and that’s what’s big to me.
It’s not just about basketball, and what can I do for them. It’s about when this game is over, what kind of relationship are we going to have? That’s what I’m speaking more so than anything, so the question was posed to me about Chicago, and . . . I said I don’t know about Chicago, because I don’t know the organization, I only know as a fan, from the outside looking in.”
So I guess Wade is loyal person, but I bet he has no problem encouraging LeBron, Bosh, Johnson, or any other major free agent to ignore such loyalty and go play with him in Miami. If Wade wants to bring loyalty into this equation, then I hope he’s willing to point out to LeBron just how loyal the Cavaliers organization has been to him and how loyal they will be to him to the end. There are so many ins and outs and circular logic expressions in this that it’s enough to drive anyone to madness.
Which is why, again, this is all much ado about nothing. The fact remains that nobody knows what LeBron’s true intentions are. Nor does anyone know what he wants in life. LeBron has been surprisingly silent about this issue and all the intrigue and hypothesis is coming from the media. We assume the Bulls are the top choice if LeBron leaves. But why? LeBron has never said as much.
Of course, in the Shakespeare play “Much Ado About Nothing”, there is an equal amount of confusion and misinterpreted intentions and desires that causes a mad panic in which all the principle characters are pointing fingers at each other and making baseless accusations. The parallels to all this free agency madness are staggering. By the end of “Much Ado About Nothing”, Claudio has agreed to marry Hero’s cousin in honor and memory of Hero (who Claudio believes to be dead), only to have the veil be lifted and the bride to turn out to be Hero herself.
I suspect this free agency period will play out much the same. One day, the veil will be lifted on LeBron’s future destination and his true desire will be revealed to everyone. Everything that came before that revelation will thus have all been Much Ado About Nothing.