LeBum? Donít be so naive

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:45 PM ET

The fallout in the wake of LeBron Jamesí move to Miami continues, the animosity growing more pronounced and personal in Ohio and the elation intensifying in South Beach.

From a pure basketball perspective, the best move would have been for James to join forces with Derrick Rose, Yoakim Noah and Carlos Boozer in Chicago, which would have featured four of the most solid pieces in the NBA.

Had James gone to the Bulls, the team would have been the team to beat in the East, hands down, and would have matched up very favourably against the Lakers.

But Jamesí decision was not about basketball.

All along, throughout this dog-and-pony show, there has always been this feeling that James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh wanted to be together and wanted to share in dictating how the NBA landscape would look.

They succeeded, in large part with the help of Heat president Pat Riley, who is now being hailed for his handling of the whole situation.

Rileyís ego is so large that it wouldnít surprise anyone if he decides to return as coach and gloat.

Miami will win a championship, but whether it happens next season canít be certain.

Getting a shooter such as Mike Miller is another step.

Michael Beasley had to move and when Minnesota emerged as a suitor it was a no-brainer.

Interior defence has to somehow be addressed before Riley can start planning his second parade in Miami, an area of weakness that must be filled to contend with Orlandoís Dwight Howard and Bostonís frontline.

Thereís all kinds of bitterness, betrayal and frustration in such places as Cleveland, New York, New Jersey and even Toronto, but all it does is reinforce how naive fans, media and club executives are and will always be.

At the end of the day, the NBA is a cruel business.

When a team loses control of the situation, a player dictates how the market gets manipulated, which is what LeBron, Bosh and Wade did, with the help of course of their representatives and their official mouthpiece, ESPN.

Anyone who watched Thursdayís self-indulgence had to be struck by how pathetic ESPN came across.

Almost as pathetic was watching Sportsnet dissect LeBronís move by having in its backdrop a picture of the King in a No. 3 Heat jersey.

Wade wears No. 3, which basically sums up how poor Canadian media outlets are at covering hoops.

Miami now becomes the Lakers of the East, a team with star power that will play to packed houses everywhere it travels and will be featured on national television like no other team.

In every city, fans await the release of the NBA schedule to circle the date for the Heatís appearance.

And just imagine the build-up when James shows his face in Cleveland for the first time.

NBA commissioner David Stern is loving every minute of this, rejoicing in the attention this story has generated throughout the league.

Another level

Whether people like it or not, itís good for basketball because what James, Bosh and Wade did has brought the game to another level.

People can question their motives, but at the end of the day they did what was best for them.

Nothing in the history of professional sports can compare to what has happened and will likely happen because no sport has featured three studs in the prime of their career who basically masterminded a coup.

This three-headed monster played the game teams have played for years, orchestrating a free-agent period that bordered on brilliant, toying with teams, manipulating the media, playing to the emotions of fans and creating an environment we will never see again.

People bought it and they loved it.

Thatís why you canít put any substance in the venom expressed by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

What Gilbert has lost sight of, and what many others are also guilty, is that this is a business, bottom line, end of story.

James, Bosh and Wade took care of business by taking care of themselves.

We applaud them.


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