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LeBron says we shouldn’t compare his free agent decision to Dwight Howard’s

Mar 16, 2012, 10:13 PM EDT

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and Miami Heat forward LeBron James talk during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Orlando

After a great deal of deliberation, Dwight Howard decided to opt-in for the additional year on his contract, staying in Orlando for at least one more season. It obviously was a difficult decision, evidenced by the fact that Howard changed his mind seemingly a thousand times before signing the necessary paperwork to stay with Magic.

During his press conference Thursday afternoon, Howard brought up LeBron James and his infamous decision to leave Cleveland while discussing how his own choice was what was best for him.

“Nobody wants to be hated,” Howard said. “I don’t think LeBron wants to be hated, but he did what he felt was best for him. The way he did it could have been wrong, but he did what was best for him. And he has to live with it, just like me.”

The fact that Howard was comparing his situation (at least on some level) to that of LeBron’s was mentioned to James at the Heat’s shootaround in Philadelphia on Friday. James seemed to want no part of the comparison, and pointed out how his situation was very different than Howard’s.

From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

“I think his situation is totally different from mine,” James said. “Everyone keeps comparing all these guys’ situations to mine. I fulfilled my contract in Cleveland. I was an unrestricted free agent, and I was a free agent. I could have done whatever I wanted to do; I could have signed back with the Cavs or leave.

“Dwight’s situation is they were going down to the deadline. I mean, all these other guys going down trade deadline or getting traded, or saying they want to opt in or opt out, my situation is totally different from everyone else’s. I think the best thing about him is he’s happy. The organization is happy that he’s staying and they can move on with their season. But none of their situations — not Chris Paul, not Carmelo Anthony, not Dwight Howard — none of their situations is like mine.”

Wade said that it simply is how it is, that James is doomed to have such moments repeat themselves.

“In all fairness,” Wade said, “he’s the only one who went through free agency.

We all can agree that the way LeBron left the Cavaliers — essentially by ripping the hearts of the team’s fans out during a nationally televised special — was less than ideal, to say the very least. But when he’s talking about players like Howard or Carmelo Anthony and how the way they approached their impending free agency is nothing like how he handled it, James is absolutely right.

Anthony and Howard created a circus-like atmosphere around their teams in the final years of their respective deals; Anthony successfully forced a trade to New York mid-season, while Howard’s inner uncertainty and his constant flip-flopping was undoubtedly a huge distraction.

But James? He played out the final year of his contract, and there was no trade deadline drama where he was concerned.

When it was all said and done, James ultimately did leave Cleveland, which forced the franchise to rebuild through the draft completely from scratch. And the way he did it was brutal, adding insult to injury to Cavs’ fans.

LeBron does have a point here, though: He didn’t hold his team hostage during the final year of his deal, so maybe we should stop comparing other star’s mid-season decisions to his, which didn’t take place until after he fulfilled his contract and he entered free agency.

We’re absolutely positive that Cavaliers fans must feel much better about the whole thing when looking at it from that perspective.

  1. shockexchange - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Of course you shouldn’t. Bloggers will compare Lebron and Dwight’s situation because it generates website hits.

  2. steelersredsoxnation - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    Insert moron cavalier comment about Lebron here……

    • gmsingh - Mar 17, 2012 at 4:24 PM

      I believe that smiling a lot and not winning any rings puts them on the same path.

  3. raidmagic - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    That’s right his situation was different. He wasn’t concerned about anyone but himself at least the other guys gave thought to thier teams.
    Just to note: I don’t care that he left I dislike how he left and I’m not a Cavs fan either just a fan of the game speaking here

    • redstar504 - Mar 17, 2012 at 12:44 AM

      I agree with you wholeheartedly LBJ was more selfish because he let the Cavs think they could keep him till the very end, even if he knew he was MIA bound.

      That said what Howard is doing is far worse. Think about the meetings with the teammates saying him to stay they need to do X, the flip-flops back and forth. It’s manipulation of the situation getting him what he wants.

      Here is my theory on what went down:
      Dwight has one goal pair up with D-Will the player that will compliment his style of play best. He was down with getting out of town if the Magic would swing a trade with the Nets. That didn’t happen because the Nets couldn’t really give the Magic something worthwhile. Enter LA. The Lakers could have swung a trade but Dwight was not ok with that. He would be going to a team where Kobe is only going to be another few years and face it Kobe ain’t sharing the spotlight. Worse yet Kobe’s style of play isn’t going to make Dwight the star he thinks he is. In the end he had no way to get what he wanted so he stays home.

      This summer he push hard to get D-Will to Orlando and this very well could happen. If it does he stays in Orlando. If it doesn’t and D-Will ends up an FA somewhere else say Dallas, I am willing to guarantee Howard cuts up a storm demanding a trade to Dallas or whoever and we are right back in this same spot next year.

      Dwight Howard is going to get what Dwight Howard wants at the end of the day. He doesn’t care who he alienates or offends along the way. Just know this at the end of the day Dwight Howard will be playing on the same team as Deron Williams. The only questions are when and what team.

  4. vicktator - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Both Dwight Howard and Lebron James are PR challenged.

  5. vicktator - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Also, unless Dwight decides to stop playing when the playoffs come around, then we really can’t compare the 2. Even worse than the decision was when “King James” decided to quit against the Celtics.

    • mclebron23 - Mar 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      Getting a triple double is quitting??? Wow that’s funny. I can’t get a triple double trying my heart out never mind quiting. Shut the fuck up and stop crying about lebron leaving Cleveland. Cleveland sucks plain and simple. Nobody wanted to play their so Kenton had to leave. He wasn’t going to win multiple championships with antwan Jamison or more Williams as the #2 guys.

      • mclebron23 - Mar 17, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        I mean “lebron” not “kenton” lol. Sorry for the typo.

  6. goforthanddie - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    “He didn’t hold his team hostage during the final year of his deal”

    No, he waited til after the season, then forced them to sign/trade him or get nothing at all, which is basically what they got anyway.

    • david8726 - Mar 17, 2012 at 1:40 AM

      He didn’t do that maliciously, though.

      I believe that LeBron didn’t know for sure what he was going to do in the Summer of 2010 during his last season in Cleveland. Thus, he would have never asked for a trade mid season, because staying in Cleveland was a definite possibility.

      That Cavaliers team was a serious title contender that year. Had the Cavs managed to win the NBA title in 2010, there is no question that LeBron would have resigned in Cleveland and stayed there for life. Once they were eliminated by Boston, the door was truly open for him to leave.

  7. mikejd12 - Mar 16, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Hey raid magic , all of a sudden he’s a bad guy for considering himself first? Just wondering do you make decisions based on what’s good for you? Or for your co-workers? …… Check Mate son

    • raidmagic - Mar 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      well daddy if you could read you would see I said I don’t care that he left it’s how he did it that bothered me.
      So “check mate son” my ass I have no problem with him chosing to leave just as I didn’t have a problem with Howard’s trade request. They put in their time and earned free agency.

  8. dragyn44 - Mar 16, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Um.. didn’t LaBron have an opt out clause in his contract as well? I am unsue. If he did and exercised then YES we can compare the two. A

    • david8726 - Mar 17, 2012 at 1:33 AM

      No, he didn’t. That was the last year of his contract, period. No opt out.

  9. packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears - Mar 16, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    Wrong. Just wrong. There was no way in hell the Cavs would’ve traded LeBron because with him, they were no doubt a very strong title contender. If you have a high chance of winning a title, you don’t trade your best player in fear that he might leave; you take the chance that you win a title. Howard is a great big man, he makes a team good, but you can put LeBron on any team and they are a legitimate title contender. He is that good. I hate him, I think the way he left was crap, but he is that good.

  10. gavilansalvaje - Mar 16, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    LBJ followed the rules, and didn’t try to put the Cavs into in to the position that Howard wanted Orlando to be in where “they have to roll the dice”.

  11. mavzncowboyz87 - Mar 17, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    D-Will and Dwight will be in Dallas more rings to come Mavs fans

  12. moseskkim - Mar 17, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    It was different lebrons vs melo, Dwight. But because he WAS so quiet about it, cavs came out with nothing. So not only did he break the fans hearts with the decision(horrible) but cavs got absolutely nothing. Denver got mozgov, Felton(dre now), gallo, will chandler(had his rights). Sure he played out the season with least amount of distractions but man he did Cleveland wrongg.

    • david8726 - Mar 17, 2012 at 6:35 AM

      He was quiet because he wasn’t sure he was leaving. You can’t request a trade if you’re not sure you actually want to go somewhere else.

      Had the Cavaliers won the NBA title that year (which was a very real possibility at the time), he would have definitely resigned with Cleveland.

  13. florida727 - Mar 17, 2012 at 6:46 AM

    LeBron went about it the wrong way (unless you’re looking at it from the Boys and Girls Club execs that benefitted from the TV thing perspective), but if I was a Cavs fan, and I’m not, I’d be far more p*ssed off at Dan Gilbert than LeBron. Cavs management had an opportunity to make a pitch to LeBron just like the Heat, the Bulls, and everyone else. What did their “presentation” consist of? A freaking cartoon starring LeBron and his friends. Seriously? A freakin’ CARTOON. Who’s laughing now Dan Gilbert? Bet it was one helluva cartoon.

    • david8726 - Mar 18, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      Yep. Their GM deserves blame too. The best teammate LeBron ever had in Cleveland was Mo Williams. Mo. Williams. That ain’t good enough. Not even close.

      Durant has Westbrook. Griffin has Paul. Kobe had Shaq. Wade had Shaq. Duncan has Parker and Ginobili.

      And Bron had Mo Williams? Good grief. No wonder he never won in Cleveland and decided to leave.

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