The Miami Heat are moving on from LeBron James. Nothing to come out of South Beach in the immediate wake of James’ departure or in the months since have refuted his impact on the organization the past four seasons, or outright chastised him for returning home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But a small war of words has been simmering nonetheless, and grew hotter this week when Chris Bosh said that he hasn’t talked to LeBron since The King’s decision and “doesn’t have much time” for players not on his team.
Bosh further exacerbated growing tension between James’ old team and his new one by opining that playing for the Cavs will be “very difficult” for Kevin Love, and Wade recently quipped that the 2013-2014 season – his last one with James, a very close friend – “wasn’t fun.” All this came after the Heat mostly refused to mention LeBron by name on media day, and Wade championed the organization’s passive aggressive new slogan, “Heat Lifer,” over the summer.
None of this is too incendiary. In a perfect world without the all-encompassing effect of emotions and media scrutiny of any kind, perhaps Bosh would have called LeBron, wished him well, and thank him for clearing enough cap space for Miami to sign the former third wheel to a maximum contract. James, Wade, and their teammates might even meet up for some sort of tropical alcoholic beverage in Rio de Janeiro instead of avoiding one another.
But this is real life, and the Heat have decided the best way to forget about James and accept their new reality is by ignoring him or very loosely disrespecting him. No big deal. But we aren’t the subject on the other side of Miami’s actions; LeBron is, and he seems at least somewhat uncomfortable with how the Heat have responded to his free agency decision.
Via ESPN’s Brian Windhorst:
“I know a lot of words have been coming out of their camp as of late and some of it is surprising,” James said Friday after Cleveland’s practice. “We’ve got so much history together. … It doesn’t take away from what we accomplished [in Miami] and I know that.”
“I’ve talked to D. Wade. Obviously, I haven’t talked to Chris. But I haven’t seen them,” James added.
If the Heat’s words have been tame, the above from James are something even less. He admits that he’s been taken aback by some of Miami’s recent comments, but makes sure to say that none of it belittles their two championships and historic four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals. Good for LeBron.
Perhaps James is also remembering that he said similar, less headline-worthy things to Wade’s “not fun” comment immediately after the Heat’s Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs. In an absolutely fantastic feature on Erik Spoelstra by Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, Miami’s coach alluded to a comparable feeling throughout the 2013-2014 season, too.
There’s no right way to act here. Break-ups are hard, especially when you’re the one scorned – that’s the Heat. Bosh, Wade, and company should do all they can within reason to help themselves get comfortable in life without LeBron, and are simply exercising their right to do so.
This is all smoke. The former Big Three will shake hands tomorrow night before their exhibition in Brazil, and perhaps stay for a lengthier on-court chat post-game than to what players are normally accustomed. No big deal – yet. Remember, where there’s smoke could eventually be fire. We’ll see how the Cavs and Heat react in Miami on Christmas Day when the stakes are real.
What do you think?
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