"I play to enjoy myself, some people take this the wrong way, but winning a championship is not what I base everything on. ... I didn't come here to play the point guard, that's just it. I came here to run the wing, just like [LeBron James] was running the other wing. I was asked to sacrifice for the team to win and for everybody, I guess, get paid. That is what was told to me and I wasn't happy with that."Windhorst doesn't understand Hughes' comments:
I thought winning is fun, sitting at home at watching the playoffs is no fun according to most NBA players I've known. I can see not playing at all, just sitting on the bench. But if you are a big part of a winning team, I thought that was desirable. Very few players in this league get everything they want, most of the time you have to settle. As long as Larry was being paid what he was being paid, I'd think some settling would've been acceptable.When I first spotted this article on TrueHoop this morning, I wanted to agree with Windhorst. As a fan of the game, it's been drilled into my head that players should hold winning above all else. But in reality? I can totally understand where Hughes is coming from.
Occasional LeBron highlights aside, the Cavs are actually very boring to watch -- it's the NBA's dirty little secret. (In fact, Windhorst basically admits this later in his post when he writes, "The Cavs offense continues to be a sloppy mess.") Before signing with the Cavs, Hughes had his most success running and down the court with the Warriors and Wizards -- he was never a fit for Mike Brown's watching-paint-dry style of play. The fact he didn't have fun running it shouldn't surprise anyone.
Secondly, the Cavs are hardly an elite contender. In fact, the Bulls are closer to catching up with the Cavs in the standings than the Cavs are to catching up with Boston. (It's not going to happen for either team, I'm just saying ...) And in a year, the Bulls could easily be right back where the Cavs are as a second-tier contender in the weaker conference -- it's not like Hughes has been banished to Charlotte or New York.
Lastly, the "as long as Larry was being paid what he was being paid" argument is irrelevant. The money is guaranteed, it's going to be there whether Hughes is happy or not. And either way, Hughes owed the Cavaliers his best effort, not his happiness, and I've never heard anyone suggest he didn't hold up his end of the bargain.