LeBron James has already disappointed in terms of Champion rings. There’s still plenty of time in his playing career, but probably not enough to surpass Michael Jordan, which was the unfair prophesy. As a player, LeBron will be hard-pressed to pass MJ’s Championship total.
But what if James gets more rings after his career is done? What if James gets them as an owner and/or general manager?
He’s an incredible manipulator of talent as a player. Where he goes, other talent follows. LeBron orchestrated the Miami movement, where he pulled NBA strings and surrounded himself with a great deal of talent. He had pre-knee-issues Dwayane Wade and Chris Bosh.
LeBron acted as an ambassador in Miami. He was the Heat’s ultimate recruiter. It sounded like he was vocal in collecting pieces, even after he had helped make the Big 3 happen. And when LeBron didn’t speak with the Heats’ acquisitions, his presence probably had a lot to do with their decision to join the Heat — it definitely wasn’t the fan base that convinced free agents to join. Admittedly, LeBron won’t have that luxury when he’s an owner or GM. Players won’t flock to his team to play with him — he won’t be on the court. However, he showed in Miami that he knows how to lure talent.
The talent was immense in Miami. However, the Heat didn’t come together easily. At the beginning, it was a case of, “be careful what you wish for.” LeBron and the Heat had worked hard to put together players that weren’t an immediate match. Then, they won two Championships. LeBron, Bosh and Wade found a way to make it work and it made sweet basketball music. Then Wade fell off precipitously. He was and perhaps is not physically able to endure an entire season. The Big 3 LeBron had a hand in creating wasn’t perfect and, frankly, was falling apart due to Wade. So, LeBron bailed on them. He built a new one in Cleveland, and it seemed he did so by applying his knowledge of building the Big 3 in Miami.
The Miami experiment was, by no calculation, a failure. Miami was dominant. But Cleveland is a more natural fit of talented players. They’re younger, healthier and could mesh faster than Miami’s squad did. A weak NBA East could also make them look pretty good. But the Cleveland trade showed LeBron’s manipulation of talent at full force.
When he wrote the letter, he acknowledged all of the talent on the Cavaliers roster but omitted Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. Maybe by coincidence and maybe not, those two players are no longer on the team. It’s natural for a veteran like LeBron to only acknowledge seasoned veterans. Yet, it seemed like a harbinger of things to come — as if LeBron knew those guys wouldn’t be around long.
And as soon he finished his last word of the letter, I’d bet he dropped his pen and picked up the phone to call Kevin Love. He began coaxing the power forward to play with him. Good thing reports hadn’t come out yet that LeBron’s supposedly not that great to play with. Doubt it. Anyways, LeBron always gets what he wants. Kevin Love came to Cleveland. So has Mike Miller. And Ray Allen is rumored to be joining them too, although some of those rumors stemmed from false reports. Ray Allen to Cleveland is still a real possibility.
So LeBron helped build a Championship-caliber Big 3. Now, he’s doing it again. If it’s successful, that would be two examples of LeBron’s vision in collating talent in an amazing way. Bottom line? He seems t0 know how to manage player personnel.
Most recently, LeBron is showing of his financial savvy too. He has been educating the rest of his fellow NBA players about their finances. He understands the business of the game, and he understands the ramifications of the new deal with Turner.
He’s also demonstrated an ability to separate the business of the game from the emotional side of the game (which has looked a lot like a lack of empathy). The decision was ugly. The departure from Miami is said to be about “going home,” but it may have just been convenient because the window with Miami was closing. His handling of everything except the letter is very business-like.
Speculation has already been born that he could someday be an owner. And LeBron still has a long career ahead of him, but once he’s done, he may well embark on a new competition with MJ. He may try his luck as an NBA owner or general manager.