LeBron talks about his destiny while GM LeBron talks about sacrifice

Jun 7, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) walks to the bench after being helped up from the court during the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors in game three of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) walks to the bench after being helped up from the court during the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors in game three of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

LeBron James talks about his destiny before putting on his “GM” hat and talking about sacrifice.

LeBron James had a few gems at the podium today when speaking to the media about Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals, which the Cleveland Cavaliers lost 118-113 despite having the lead late in the game.

While James was superb throughout, with 39 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in 46 minutes, most of the talk after the game came down to James’ decision to pass to Kyle Korver in the corner when he seemingly had an open lane to the rim when he first turned the corner on Draymond Green.

This still shot by The Step Back’s Jeff Siegel is a perfect illustration of why James made the pass.

Korver, who shoots 47.2 percent from the corner for his career, was wide open.

For James to score, he would have had to draw a foul – while nobody in the league would trusts referees to make the right call – or make the shot despite being guarded by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Draymond Green and the 7-foot-0 Kevin Durant, who has 2.0 blocks per game, waiting at the rim.

All this after admittedly being “tired” at various points throughout the game as he tried to be the steady scoring hand fighting against the Hydra that is the Golden State Warriors offensive attack. Both Green and head coach Steve Kerr noted that James would, and was, beginning to wear down late in the game.

The key for the Warriors in this series has been magnificent defense and sheer talent, yes, but also the way they move the ball; spreading it around so that everybody can make an impact. The Cavs also do that but the offensive capabilities of their top four players (James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith) have paled in comparison to that of the Warriors’ quartet (Durant, Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson).

Not through any fault of James for, as unstoppable as Durant has been, James has been equally magnificent considering the defense he’s facing versus the one Durant is. However, Irving, Love and Smith have all been uneven on the offensive end, while Curry, Green and Thompson have been a consistent force on offense throughout the series.

James would touch on the talent of the Warriors last night, speaking on their firepower.

James feels like it’s his destiny to go against dynasties. He doesn’t, however, feel as if it’s unfair for the Warriors to have Durant, saying if he becomes an owner he’ll try to sign everybody.

In fact, James is excited for Durant who has taken the Golden State Warriors by storm. He doesn’t feel like there’s a comparison between Durant joining the Warriors and him joining the Miami Heat or coming back to the Cavs though.

James correctly points out that his teams had to assemble a championship roster from scratch. Meanwhile, Durant joined a team that had been to two straight Finals.

James’ comments also shine light on another difference between the two players, which should be considered when people prematurely discuss if Durant is the best player in the game.

Durant is thriving in a system. James is thriving as the system.

This isn’t to say that Durant’s abilities, or numbers, only exist because of the system but that like any organization, when everybody else is excelling at their job it’s that much to do yours perfectly versus when you’re trying to pick up everybody’s slack, as James is often tasked to do.

No champion in NBA history, including Durant if the Warriors win it all this year, has ever had to be the most important scorer, defender and facilitator against dynastic teams every night, or expected to be, like James has been.

The reason people have that expectation of James isn’t because they’ve seen a player do it before him, it’s because James has done it before, and often.

However, against the Warriors, who have enhanced the NBA’s “superteam” model with a transcendent Big 4 (all of whom are in their prime), the Cavs need more weapons in the artillery. That’s precisely why James would need players to do what Durant did, join the Cleveland Cavaliers and sacrifice.

At the end of the following quote, transcribed by Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver, James puts on his “GM” hat:

"“I mean who wouldn’t want to sacrifice playing on a Golden State team or a San Antonio team or a Cleveland team when you know the ultimate result is you can actually compete for a championship.”"

The Cavs number one recruiting tool, LeBron, just used his own greatness as a recruiting tool. At the same time, he squashes any notion that there are more than three teams that are perennial championship contenders and that there’s any more than one team in the East.

James, wanting to compete for championships every year, will need the Cavs to acquire make a big-time move to keep up with the Warriors dynasty. With the firepower that the Warriors have, there should be no doubt that he’ll want the Cleveland Cavaliers to make a splash this offseason.

There truthfully aren’t any backup point guards that push the needle for the Cavs and they need both athleticism and players who can create for themselves on the wings. However, even if the Cavs attracted those players, they need to be able to get them to sign a minimum contract.

Yet, the likelihood the Cavs will find or sign the type of difference-maker that will close the gap between them and the Warriors for a minimum contract is minuscule.

When considering that, it’s a near certainty that the Cavs will make a trade in the offseason.

James, speaking as both a player and front office executive as only he can, has left everything on the table these Finals. He’ll need another player to leave something on the table, and sacrifice, for him to compete against the Warriors (or the Spurs) every year.

Related Story: Cavs need everyone to step their game up on offense

What do you think about LeBron James’ comments? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section or Twitter @KJG_NBA.