If James wants to be the best example of a leader, maybe hanging with Wade in Miami was not the best idea. Sure, the Cleveland Cavaliers were in the midst of a three-day break, and LeBron deserves rest and relaxation. However, if he had plans to practice, maybe the time would be better spent practicing with his current teammates?
Why not fly Irving, Love, and a few other players down to Miami too? Spend some time bonding, and ironing out team related issues. I get that James and Wade are best friends, but during the season they are enemies. Their rendezvous only adds fuel to the fire.
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Then if Irving wants out of Cleveland, that’s great. Tell management before the trade deadline, or hold it off until the offseason. When sources of sources are telling Stephen A. Smith you might want out, it’s going to get reported, true or not that you do. Why? Because it’s fuel to the fire.
The national media is looking for any angle they can get as to why the Cleveland Cavaliers are not at the level of the Spurs or the Warriors. Then these stories get to his teammates who question his drive, passion, and commitment to the franchise. When you’re viewed as a leader, and your leadership is questionable, who’s going to follow you?
Take a page from Tim Duncan. In his time with San Antonio, he’s always deferred his game to those around him. He’s a quiet leader, yet he’s effective. His contract talks have never overtaken the team’s efforts or had an effect on the storylines surrounding the team.
That doesn’t mean that LeBron or Kyrie have to go into hiding, but that during the season think about what you are doing. If the Cavaliers were 54-5 or 51-9, neither of these stories find the light of day. However, at 42-17, with struggles on the court and a losing record to top 10 teams, avoid the trips to Miami, cryptic tweets, and decisions to leave avoided with a Duncan-like silence.
That’s one way to put out the fire, and uniting the team is another.
Next: United We Are One