King James Knows A Thing Or Two About Free Agency

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When Ray Allen left the Celtics to sign a three-year deal with the Miami Heat in 2012, he was criticized by many — including then-teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce as well as coach Doc Rivers.

Fast forward to the present day. Allen has a shiny championship ring that he won in 2013 with the Heat, and Garnett and Pierce are about to begin new stages of their careers in Brooklyn. Rivers is the coach of the Clippers.

Garnett waived his no-trade clause so he could join Pierce in New York in the mega-deal between the Nets and the Celtics, and Rivers pushed hard to leave Boston for Los Angeles.

The whole situation isn’t sitting well with Heat star LeBron James.

“I think the first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,'” the nine-time NBA All-Star told ESPN. “I think it’s OK; I didn’t mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically (expletive) on Ray for leaving, and now they’re leaving.

“That’s the nature of our business, man. I don’t know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career. Doc, KG and Paul did that as well. You can’t criticize someone who does something that’s best for their family.”

King James, of course, knows a thing or two about leaving one franchise for another as a free agent. There was that little thing called “The Decision” in 2010, when James announced that he was signing with the Heat instead of returning to his hometown Cavs.

“I can relate to that; you think so? I’m the No. 1 relater,” the four-time MVP told the network. “I’ve been through it all. I know all about it.”

If anything, James’ comments should help light a fire under what figures to be an excellent rivalry in 2013. The Heat, coming off their second consecutive NBA Championship, will again be favored in the Eastern Conference. The Nets, meanwhile, are being picked by many to be one of the top teams in the league following their very successful offseason.

The two squads will square off on November 1 in Brooklyn’s home opener.

“They have champions on their team, they have gold medalists on their team, they have guys who have been through a lot,” James said, according to ESPN. “It should be fun playing against them throughout the regular season and possibly in the playoffs.”

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