Free Agency – Part One

Written by on July 16, 2018


On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS July 16, 2018, #701…Free Agency – Part One
After further review…This TunneySide is scheduled as a two-part column regarding free agency. Consider that no matter what develops with free agency in the sporting world, it’s here-to-stay. However, the TunneySide has never been a fan of free agency! The reason being that free agency can destroy T*E*A*M cohesiveness and fan loyalty. When players jump from one team to another, fans become less loyal to that team and its players. Some fans follow a team because of the city in which they reside. Others become fans of a team because of a player or players they admire. As players move, fans become disenchanted, especially if they don’t win!

While free agency is available in all professional sports, the behavior of LeBron James in the NBA casts a concern on the original intent of free agency. When James took his talents to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat, as he did in 2010, then returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers as he did in 2016, and now in 2018 has decided to take his talents to Hollywood to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, some are questioning the true intent of the free agency system.
Free agency was brought about by players who either were unhappy with how the team that owned them were treating them, or for other reasons of which there may be many. In LeBron’s case, it is apparent he moved to create a dynasty to win NBA championships. He did that with the Miami Heat in 2012 and again in 2013: then returned to the Cavaliers to win an NBA championship there in 2016. However, the Cavaliers, Eastern Conference champions were unable to defeat the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018. LeBron now feels his current Cavaliers could not wrestle the championship away from the Dubs in the coming years.
So now LeBron is off to the Pacific Division where his Lakers will meet the Warriors 4 times during the regular season to become Western Conference champions. Or —-could it be that being near Hollywood enhances LeBron’s opportunities for self-promotion in the entertainment world? Hmm. Again, it seems that was never the intent of free agency by either NBA management nor NBAPA (union).
Has LeBron created a scheme that other NBA players might follow? Would other professional leagues, e.g., the NFL or NHL or MLB watch to see that might happen with them? The TunneySide will follow up next week with other ideas on free agency.
Will you support the system that LeBron James is creating?
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