Skip to main content

IS LEBRON REALLY PULLING THE STRINGS? Jose Calderon talks about the GM perception surrounding LeBron James

LeBron-James-Jose-Calderon

It was only a year ago that the Lakers were NBA's train wreck team. So much has happened since February 2019 it feels it was a decade ago. This may jog your memory. 

lakers-bench

Anthony Davis, represented by Rich Paul (Klutch Sports) tried to force a trade midseason. Before you start, I want to remind you the NBA investigated LeBron's connection to Klutch Sports and found no rule violation. It just so happens that most Klutch business somehow suits LeBron's interests. Back to the Lakers. The trade didn't happen, all the young players on the team couldn't trust LeBron, and fans around the league reminded them of that fact every chance they got. “LeBron will trade you” was the most used chant in NBA arenas after the All-Star break.

It's been one of the most common criticisms of LeBron. While no-one's shocked that MVP caliber players get consulted on significant team changes and personnel moves, LeBron seemed to have more control than that. Jose Calderon knows a thing or two about that. Numero Ocho played with LeBron in Cleveland in '17/'18, at the pinnacle of his alleged LeGM days. Here's how he explained it. 

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

“I think that's something we already have in mind with everyday sport. You talk about soccer, and you have Messi, now people are thinking the same thing [about Messi]. Or Ronaldo. At the end of the day, when you have one of those guys, it's not about them making decisions. If I was the GM or the coach, I'm guessing you'll always gonna have to go to him and ask him, 'What do you think about this?' That doesn't mean he's making the decision.” 

Jose Calderon

Calderon is making a common-sense argument. If you are building a team around LeBron, his input on the style of play and guys in the league he played against or with in the past is valuable. Long before LeBron James, superstars were kept in the loop, and their opinions were heard. 

But with rights comes responsibility. You can't lead player empowerment, but dismiss the responsibility that comes with the extra power. LeBron held organizations hostage with short contracts, putting pressure on front offices to go all-in or he would leave. His voice and opinion got more significant with that, and consequentially LeBron has more responsibility for the end result. 

Messi's actually a great example. His best days were when Pep Guardiola was coaching, Xavi and Iniesta ran the show and Messi did Messi stuff. When Guardiola and the veterans left the team, Messi started running the show - see if this sounds familiar. Constant coaching changes (six coaches in eight years), and extreme roster turnaround. If they win it Messi's brilliance, if they lose the team around him or the coach sucks.

Keep this in mind. The best organizations out there, the ones everyone considers a benchmark of excellence, don't accept that modus operandi. Masai Ujiri, Danny Ainge, and above all Pat Riley appreciate payer input, but everyone knows who makes the decisions. 

Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson, guard Michael Jordan, forward Toni Kukoc, and center Dennis Rodman

That time Phil Jackson made the Chicago Bulls watch “The Wizard of Oz” in practice to send a message

You gotta respect the Zen Master's innovative methods to get his team's head in the game.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum

“That’s why he gets paid the big bucks” — Jayson Tatum refused to let the Boston Celtics lose Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks

Tatum finally stepped up and outdueled Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 to force a winner takes all Game 7

NBA and Hennessy created one-of-kind basketball court in Taiwan

Exclusive Footage: NBA and Hennessy created a one-of-kind basketball court in Taiwan

Hennessy and the NBA are bringing a different kind of experience to basketball fans all over the world by mounting basketball courts in areas least expected.

Kevin Love on why he left Team USA: They threw me under the bus and I didn’t like that

Kevin Love reveals the real reason why he quit Team USA

Kevin Love and Jerry Colangelo's relationship soured after the forward left Team USA. Now, Love airs his side on the matter and what he felt like betrayal from people he trusted.

Nike and Kyrie Irving set to part ways if availability issues continue

Nike and Kyrie Irving are set to part ways if availability issues continue

If Kyrie Irving's vaccination status doesn't change, it looks like Nike will have no choice but to end its partnership with him.

Chris Paul has been historically bad when his teams have taken a 2-0 lead in the playoffs, and it’s happening again against the Dallas Mavericks

Chris Paul has been historically bad when his teams have taken a 2-0 lead in the playoffs, and it’s happening again against the Dallas Mavericks

Chris Paul has squandered four 2-0 series leads throughout his career, and his struggles against Dallas Mavs are a reason why that number may be bumped up to five

The James Harden/Ben Simmons trade has been a failure for both the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers so far

The James Harden/Ben Simmons trade has been a failure for both the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers so far

Simmons never ended up playing for the Nets, which obviously hurt, but while Harden played, he wasn't playing up to his usual caliber, and the Sixers never ultimately recover from that.