We’ve covered the Lakers need to move on Anthony Davis now. LeBron signing a long-term deal with LA signaled he would have more patience with Magic and Pelinka than he did with Dan Gilbert, but we all know LeBron always demands excellence and with a Western Conference so open, besides Warriors, is there a team you’d consider favorites against the Lakers in a seven game series if LeBron got a co-star via trade till February?
The problem is, we heard more and more how Kevin Love didn’t have a good time playing next to LeBron. Kyrie asked for a trade to move out of his shadow. Kawhi wants LA but since LeBron joined he has been linked to the Clippers. Then KD gave an interview and called the environment around LeBron toxic. It is becoming obvious the current generation of superstars are at least skeptical about playing next to The King. It seems like nobody is interested in being The Prince.
In a holiday interview with Rachel Nichols, LeBron commented on the toxic comments:
I was a little pissed off when I first heard it, to be honest. I didn’t know where it stemmed from. So, I was pissed, my family was pissed, my friends were pissed. We just didn’t know why, at this point and time in the season that my name or what I’ve done in my career was kinda talked about like that. I don’t feel like it’s ever been toxic around me, and when I hear toxic I automatically thought like…toxic is like you never want to be around that because it’s almost like a fatal disease.
I’m sure LeBron realizes that playing next to him is a challenging proposition. As many reporters say, when it’s good, LeBron gets the praise; when it’s terrible, others get the criticism. These are tough shoes to fill, and he has to be aware of that.
I found the “at this point and time in the season” interesting. The point and time are right during the start of full-on trade season. This shows the strategic thinking LeBron and his team apply to everything that happens. Not just “why this comment” but more importantly “why now?”
Hypothetically speaking, if you were a superstar planning to leave his championship team because you want to prove to people whose opinion you don’t care about that you can do it as the leader of a team from a big market not doing good for decades…wouldn’t you want to draw talent towards you and away from the best player in the league? Not thinking of anyone specific, just saying. Back to KD (after this example entirely unrelated to him) who did call to clear the air:
But, I got a phone call from KD, we talked about it. He mentioned how he felt about it, how the story took a twist and as a man I don’t hold on to things too long. I’m too happy in my life right now and I don’t hold on to anything that will take away my happiness.
I know, I needed a moment to. Poor KD got screwed again. The haters in the press quoted the words he said, and the story took a twist. It wasn’t him, it was the blog boys and fanboys, even the beat writers again. As KD said in that interview: “it’s just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on every word.” Those annoying journalists were taking words and talking about their meaning. Let him be..not that he cares.
KD looks up to LeBron, and he should. The King has had one of the most spectacular careers in the history of sports when you take into account he had the spotlight on him since he was a kid, dominated the game for such a long time, made brilliant business investments and is leading the way in charitable activity.
But when you read Durant’s comment, there is a bouquet of jealousy. KD doesn’t mind the amount of attention, he just wishes he got as much of it as LeBron did. “It’s not even about basketball at certain points” – well, he did open up a school for underprivileged kids in his hometown that guarantees college tuition to anyone who gets in college. Maybe not asking him about a pick-and-roll isn’t so bad Kevin.
I got 20 saying LeBron was mostly annoyed. 30 that his first reaction was an eye roll. If there was strategy in making that comment before trade season kicked in, that could be considered a business move. But at the heart of it, it was just KD being KD. So, where do they stand after this?
Listen, he told me how he felt and he apologized on how it came out. I said alright, we move on from there.