Feels like ages ago, but it was only four months ago that the Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson accused the Pelicans not acting in good faith about the Anthony Davis trade talks.
When the trade deadline ended and Davis was still a New Orleans Pelicans player, the Lakers were fractured. So many trade combinations were leaked you couldn’t know which one is 100% or not, but one thing was clear. Everyone except LeBron was on the table.
Players learn that the NBA is a business, but it’s (almost) never your teammate that’s trying to get you traded. Whatever the official spiel is about LeBron’s connection to Klutch, everyone knows one thing – if LeBron wants you to stay on his team, you will not be in a trade package. If LeBron wants another Klutch agent traded to his team, you know he’s ready to drive you to the airport.
Suddenly the tension you have with a GM is transferred to the locker room. There is a major difference here – you don’t need to screen or rebound for the GM. The GM doesn’t put you on the spot in front of a full arena if you miss a defensive rotation. You didn’t buy every shoe the GM put out with Nike.
Even some of the old guys were affected. I can’t say a name, but I remember me and the guy were on the bench for the Atlanta game right before the [All-Star] break. The guy was cussing and talking bad about the situation during the game. I was like: ‘Snap out of it. That shit is over with. We’ll get through it. As vets, we have to move forward and not focus on what the young guys are focusing on. Set an example.‘ It was a little crazy to see a vet distraught over that.
This is Rajon Rondo, talking to Ric Bucher for B/R Mag. Rondo continues to describe the level of disarray the entire situation had on the young LA team. As Rondo explained it, all the young players grew up wanting to be like LeBron, and when they get the surreal chance of playing with him, they end up on the trading block. Not good for chemistry.
Guys may have felt like, ‘Oh, I need to prove myself so I won’t be traded’ or ‘They’re going to trade me anyway.’ Each game you didn’t know what the mentality was for those guys: ‘Should I give my all to this organization that is about to trade me in two days?’
The revolution eats its children. LeBron uplifted the player empowerment era to maximum eights. The “what have you done for me lately?” attitude. So of course, when a team wants to trade your millennial ass to New Orleans, guess what happens. You act as your idol taught you.
What’s the difference between signing one-year deals in Cleveland every year to keep the Front Office in win-now mode and toning it down a bit and doing your own load management before you figure out what the team will do with you?
A leader that says “do as I say, not as I do” isn’t a leader at all. That’s the problem with Klutch LeBron, GM LeBron. With power comes great responsibility, like it or not.