LeBron: When star leaves, he gets 'snake' label

LeBron James believes there is a double standard in how people characterize front offices and NBA players when it comes to the business of trades and free agency.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, one day after the LA Clippers traded star forward Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons, James pointed to the harsher “narrative” that players have to deal with when they choose to leave a team, compared with when teams trade away players.

“When a player gets traded, [the front office] was doing what was best for the franchise,” James said. “But when a player decides to leave, he’s not loyal, he’s a snake, he’s not committed.

“That’s the narrative of how it goes. I know that firsthand.”

James is no stranger to the firestorm that comes with leaving a franchise. He was heavily criticized for joining the Miami Heat as a free agent in 2010, then received similar scrutiny when he returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent in 2014.

James is expected to become a free agent after this season, again making him the focus of speculation over whether he’ll stay or go and what his potential landing spots could be.

James said he was “a little bit in shock” when he learned that Griffin, who re-signed with the Clippers on a five-year, $173 million deal this past summer, had been traded after spending his first seven-plus seasons in Los Angeles.

“But you know the business, as unfortunate as it looks,” James said. “You know the business. It is what it is.”

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