Coming off a championship defeat, basketball star LeBron James has reportedly concluded negotiations to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers under a buyout deal and head to Oakland to play for the Golden State Warriors.
The move is a controversial trade, and comes at a time of increased skepticism over whether or not the NBA’s contemporary penchant for “super teams” is good for players or teams.
“I think players’ lack of loyalty to any one team does a huge disservice to the fans of NBA basketball,” said ESPN host Robby Kozwalksi last night on his show “Basketball Breakdown” in an impassioned statement. “It also does a huge disservice to the sport itself. How are people going to be interested in going to games if a small handful of teams always win? How are people going to be invested in their home teams if they don’t live near a super team city like Oakland, LA, Cleveland, or Miami? I think that players being so obsessed with championship rings above everything else is destroying this sport.”
Kozwalksi’s statement made waves throughout the rest of ESPN’s basketball programming, but not every commentator agreed with his pessimistic outlook for the NBA.
“I think LeBron going to Oakland is great for the sport,” said Tom Dinkman on “NBA/ESPN” later last night. “Look, the fact is that the NBA is in a golden age right now, with epic players striving to make sports history. We have a handful of players competing on a Michael Jordan level, and I think even sports fans who don’t pay attention to basketball are now getting into the game because of the talent, personalities, and dominating teams we see duking it out on the court. I don’t care if you’ve never seen a basketball game in your life, but you’ve heard the names Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Dwyane Wade, and so on.”
The deal is reportedly involving big numbers, with a steep buyout price Oakland has agreed to pay Cleveland, but LeBron’s salary has yet to be disclosed. It is has been reported to match Kobe Bryant’s former salary of $25 million, but The Halfway Post had not confirmed the number at time of publishing.
*This story is still developing*
(Photo courtesy of Keith Allison.)