By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — When LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach, he did so after planning carefully with six-time all-star Dwyane Wade, five-time all-star Chris Bosh and Hall of Famer Pat Riley.
When LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland, he did so knowing the Cavs had 2011 No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving and 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, who could be flipped in a trade for three-time all-star Kevin Love.
Both squads were, by definition, super teams.
Not, however, according to LeBron James.
After his team lost the Finals to the Warriors — a super team in their own right, albeit one built largely through the draft — LeBron was asked if he still likes the idea of building super teams.
“No, not really,” James said when asked if he understood the question. “I don’t believe I’ve played for a super team. I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe we’re a super team here. So, no, I don’t really. I don’t.”
This is an interesting opinion.
For one, there was this whole event when he joined the Heat.
The WWE introductions are typically saved only for the most super of teams.
There was also the fact that his team in Miami attracted veteran ring hunters like a magnet. That included future Hall of Famer Ray Allen, who actually saved LeBron’s Heat from losing the 2013 Finals to the Spurs, and Richard Jefferson, who ranked sixth on the Cavs in postseason minutes during the 2016 run to a title.
LeBron can begrudge Kevin Durant for joining up with the 73-9 Warriors all he wants, but he likely understands that the Warriors were largely built the old-fashioned way. The team drafted its big three, and did so without needing the No. 1 overall pick. Stephen Curry was taken seventh in 2009, Klay Thompson was drafted 11th in 2011, and Draymond Green was drafted 35th overall in 2012.
That team was able to win a championship two years ago over LeBron’s Cavaliers, long before Durant was in the picture.
Adding Durant to the mix obviously gave Golden State an embarrassment of riches, as evidenced by their shiny new Larry O’Brien Trophy. They were for sure a super team … yet they were pretty close to being a super team even without Durant.
LeBron did give credit to the Warriors for being without a doubt the best team in the NBA this season.
“They assembled a great team. We were able to get them last year, and they went out and got one of the best players that this league has ever seen, so they did a good job of — a great job, their front office and their players, by doing that recruiting, the things that they did in the summertime, and obviously it paid dividends,” James said. “They’re going to be here for a while. They’re going to be around for a while. Pretty much all their guys are in their 20s. Pretty much all their big-name guys are in their 20s, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. So there’s going to be a lot of teams that’s trying to figure out ways to put personnel together to try and match that if they’re able to actually face them in the Playoff series, both Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Because they’re built for — from my eyes, they’re built to last a few years.”
That’s all well and good. But, LeBron, come on, pal. You pretty much made the super team concept fashionable. I know the emotions are raw after the fifth Finals loss of your career, but let’s not try to change history here.