It's become tiresome. The story about LeBron James' trendsetting; joining other stars and destroying smaller markets.
The idea that players shouldn't use their contracts as weapons, and let the league dictate their futures is malarkey, and based off of nothing but lies and ignorance.
Players like James and Carmelo Anthony are ridiculed for not having loyalty to their teams; a bogus claim created by people who have no sense of what the players really want—to have fun and win.
Since when does a player have to decide his future plans before his contract tells him to?
Ever since the summer of 2010—when Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James joined forces—the league, the fans, and the owners have been irate at the fact that players can control their own destinies.
The burden doesn't—and shouldn't—fall on the player to keep fans coming to games or buying merchandise. Basketball players are paid to play the game; everything else is out of their hands.
Take, for instance, the most notorious player on the court: LeBron James.
James is the guy who has done good things for the community; brought the Cavaliers to an NBA Finals appearance; and made Cleveland basketball relevant again. So after seven years of no jewelry, he decides to leave for bigger and better things, and we know how the rest plays out.
However, if you examine the team he was surrounded by, could you really blame him?
The same Cavaliers who once supported LeBron are, a year later, the worst team in the NBA.
They went on a 26-game losing streak—a league record—and are swamped with bad contracts. Now, you tell me whose fault it was that LeBron jumped ship. Why stay on a losing team with no help in sight?
The same case can be made for Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.
Free-agents-to-be Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Dwight Howard are already feeling the heat—and they haven't even become eligible to test the market.
The problem does not lie with the players, but rather with the owners and general mangers. If you want to keep your star athletes, then make the right moves.
There is no argument that a major city helps the process—that's a given. But if teams provided their players with opportunities to succeed, then players may not be so eager to leave.
Oklahoma City is a prime example.
They have a superstar in Kevin Durant. The Thunder used the draft as a weapon and surrounded him with great athletes such as Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collision and James Harden; and have now traded for Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson and Nazr Mohammed.
This is the same team that was drowning in Seattle before they made the move.
The Thunder have managed their salaries, made the right moves, drafted wisely, and have now set themselves up to be a very successful team in a smaller market.
If they can manage salaries and be smart around draft time, teams will prosper all over the league—and small-market teams like Oklahoma City will thrive.
Chris Paul and Deron Williams are not responsible for handing out contracts and drafting players; and, if they are, shame on the owners and general managers.
General managers are paid to give their teams the best personnel possible, so you can't blame an athlete for wanting to leave a struggling team for one with championship potential.
At the end of the day, the responsibility of the player is to play; where he wants to is up to him.
If the general manager and owner want to keep him, it's their job to make the team progress, rather than make a mess by putting the blame on the star who wants to shine somewhere else.