LeBron James Denies Supporting Contraction
After stating last week that the NBA was "watered down" and suggesting "it would be great for the league" if players from losing teams played for winners, LeBron James tried to clarify that in no way was he advocating for contraction.
"That's crazy, because I had no idea what the word 'contraction' meant before I saw it on the Internet," James told reporters Monday after the Miami Heat's practice. "I never even mentioned that. That word never even came out of my mouth. I was just saying how the league was back in the '80s and how it could be good again. I never said, 'Let's take some of the teams out.' "
James may not have used the word "contraction," but he certainly seemed to be describing it when making his initial comments Thursday before Miami's win in Phoenix:
"Hopefully, the league can figure it out one day to go back to the situation it was in the '80s, when you had three or four All-Stars, three or four superstars, three or four Hall-of-Famers on the same team," James said. "The league was great. It wasn't as watered down as it is. You had more (All-Star) players on a team, which made almost every game anticipated -- not just a Christmas Day game, not just a Halloween game."
He later added: "Just imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team. Or, looking at some of the teams that aren't that great, you take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off these teams that aren't that good right now and add them to a team that could be really good. Not saying let's take New Jersey, let's take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid. I'm not stupid. I know it would be great for the league."
Contraction has been a controversial topic as David Stern and the NBA's owners negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the players association. And by appearing to support contraction, James seemed to be aligning himself with the owners -- something he stated Monday simply wasn't the case.
"I'm with the players, and the players know that," James said. "I've been with the players. It's not about getting guys out of the league or knocking teams out. I didn't mean to upset nobody. I didn't tell Avery Johnson to leave either. I didn't say let's abandon the Nets, and not let them move to Brooklyn or let's tear down the Target Center in Minnesota. I never said that."