LeBron James Isn't Acting Like a Team Leader

Ari HoringSenior Analyst INovember 25, 2008

Everyday I hear rumors about LeBron James playing for the New York Knicks in 2010, and frankly I am sick of hearing about something that may or may not happen two years from now.

James isn't helping this news story go away by not completely refuting it and in a way embracing it.

I am a big LeBron James fan, but he isn't behaving like a team leader and the face of his franchise.

Although James said in a pregame news conference on Tuesday, "I just want to continue to just to focus on what I have at task now, being with the Cavs and us getting better every day to compete for an NBA championship," he isn't completely shying away from talking about his future.

James said "I am flattered (by) the rumors going around that they would love me to be part of their team (The Knicks). I can't sit up here and say I'm not flattered by that or like the fact that it's happening."

Then after the Cavaliers beat the Knicks 119-101 on Tuesday, James once again fueled the rumors:

"I don't know if it's going to happen," said James. "I'm so focused on this season and what we have at task with the Cavs that it's hard for me to even think about that date. But at the same time, you have to stay open-minded if you're a Knicks fan."

Instead of talking about his future and hinting his departure, he needs to tell reporters that he would rather not address his future right now.

I'm not sure if James is being a distraction to his team or not but he isn't acting like a team leader.

I can't Imagine Michael Jordan not only allowing a distraction like this to continue, but fueling it as well. The Cavaliers are much improved and are currently second in the east with a 11-3 record.

James needs to stop worrying about what he is going to do in the future and worry about contending for an NBA championship this year.

I still haven't quite figured out King James yet. Earlier this year he said he wouldn't rule out playing in Europe in 2010 for $50 million a year.

Now he's saying there’s a chance he could go to New York’s sinking franchise in 2010. From eveything I've heard from James, I can't tell if he cares more about winning, money, or fame.

Even though Jordan made a lot of money in his career and received worldwide fame, it was clear to me that Jordan's legacy was the most important thing to him.

Why would James want to go to a team who most likely in two years will still be losing if he cares about winning titles and cementing his legacy?

Obviously he wants the fame associated with playing in New York City. However, James needs to realize that the more championships a player gets, the more money and fame go along with that as well.

The right thing for James to do in 2010 will be to continue playing for his hometown team in Cleveland that have essentially put their franchise on his back and try to cement his legacy there.

Imagine the state of the Cavaliers franchise if James does decide to leave. It will be reminiscent of what happened to the Orlando Magic when Shaq left early in his career.

The Magic are just starting to recover 11 years after Shaq’s departure and who knows how long it will take for the Cavaliers to do so if James leaves.

Although I hope James doesn’t abandon his city, he should weigh his other options in 2010 to see what other opportunities could help him win a championship.

However, if King James decides to go to New York City, he’ll not only be abandoning his hometown city, he'll be abandoning his throne.

You can’t be king, if you never get a ring.