Ever since his NBA arrival on October 29, 2003, LeBron James has made 29 other teams desperately wish they had him. But is that still the case?
It has always gone without saying that teams would do anything they could to attract The King. He has been the one guarantee in sports every year to continue his dominance.
Throughout the process, LeBron has not always done things quietly and has often been the center of attention for all the wrong reasons.
So far in January, LeBron has looked anything but one of the greatest players of all-time, or even one of the best players in the NBA. By his standards, his stats this month have been pedestrian at best: 23.5 points per game, a 3-point percentage of .214, .648 free throw percentage, and a plus/minus of -14.8. Not to mention, the Cavs have gone 4-7 and fallen to third in the East.
LeBron, he has been in the league for 15 seasons, played a ton of minutes, so showing signs of age was going to happen at some point. However, history has shown once players hit their decline, they do not bounce back. In LeBron’s case, his play has to outweigh his distractions.
Some of the distraction that comes with LeBron is due to the media wanting to make something out of nothing with the most polarizing athlete in the world. But most of it is caused by LeBron craving attention.
Until James went into one of the worst slumps of his career this month — failing to score even 20 points already four times and registering a historic quadruple-double with a career-high 11 turnovers — the distractions were always tolerated because of his otherworldly play. That should not be the case going forward.
Rumors about his future have been flying for months due to his impending free agency with potential suitors. many believe he will once again leave the Cleveland Cavaliers. The discussion has been that he will make any team he joins an instant title contender. But what hasn’t been mentioned, is how he may actually hurt a team by joining it.
If his play continues to trend downwards, he is not worth the 24/7 attention that will surely relocate with him.
Since returning to Cleveland in 2014, LeBron has been at the front of the speculation on why his former head coach David Blatt was fired, and the main reason for Kyrie Irving demanding a trade. Irving was so determined to leave he reportedly threatened to have surgery and sit out an entire season.
LeBron has also not been able to stop sending passive-aggressive tweets whenever he is not pleased with something. That includes a blatantly obvious one lobbed towards Kevin Love:
The same teammate he just happened to leave out of a team picture.
It just so happened that after Irving wanted a trade, LeBron sent out a tweet giving advice to his 40 million followers to not “let anyone ride your wave.”
Yeah, nobody was going to catch that one, LeBron.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to be called “kid,” when they are one of the greatest players in the world?
Or the pettiness that was demonstrated just this past week when James congratulated himself before he reached 30,000 career points.
To make matters worse, James refuses to give a commitment to a team long-term, leading to constant speculation on where he will be playing in the coming years. All this shows that having LeBron James on a team comes with a lot of unwanted attention.
Age is no longer on his side, and with the gap rapidly closing between James and other players, he might not be worth the risk this summer.
Do the Lakers want to disrupt their young nucleus and add LeBron to the circus that already exists with the Ball family? Does Houston want to insert him and possibly stunt the rise of James Harden? Does Cleveland really want to re-sign him to another short contract and deal with the same drama time and time again with very little chance of improving? These are real questions that should be contemplated.
No, LeBron is not in jeopardy of not being wanted, but his risk/reward ratio is not nearly as positive as it once was and is getting drastically worse by the tweet.