LeBron James Reacts to Blake Griffin Trade, Highlights NBA Loyalty Hypocrisy

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 28: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers pauses between plays during the first half against the Detroit Pistons at Quicken Loans Arena on January 28, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

In the aftermath of Monday's Blake Griffin blockbuster trade, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James told reporters he believes reactions regarding teams and players parting ways are laced with hypocrisy depending on which side initiates the split. 

"When a player gets traded, it's [the team] was doing what's best for the franchise," James said Tuesday, per Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon. "But when a player decides to leave, it's, 'He's not loyal. He's a snake. He's not committed.' It's just, that's the narrative of how it goes. So I'm definitely [aware]. I know that firsthand."

James' familiarity with those narratives date back to 2010, when he left the Cavaliers to link up with the Miami Heat. 

Griffin, though, is learning about NBA loyalty for the first time after the Los Angeles Clippers pulled a stunner Monday and shipped him to the Detroit Pistons to acquire Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, a protected 2018 first-round pick and a 2019 second-round selection. 

The move came mere months after the Clippers inked Griffin to a five-year, $171 million max extension following the team's ambitious free-agency pitch in June. 

According to ESPN.com's Zach Lowe, the Clippers "had erected something of a maze for him with temporary walls" that included pictures of him as a child, as a star at Oklahoma and finally as a member of the Clippers. 

"The maze spit Griffin out onto a couch overlooking the Staples Center court, above the lower bowl," Lowe wrote. "Crowd noise pumped in. The team's public address announcer declared the Clippers were retiring Griffin's number. Team employees raised an actual banner into the raftersa vision of the future they wanted."

On Monday, that vision vanished. 

"He spent his last nine years there," James said, per Vardon. "He signed a multiyear deal there this summer, so that's unfortunate. But that's the business side of it. It's both sides. It works both sides, though. It's the business."


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