Outspoken Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green went in Monday night on the double standard that he believes exists in the treatment of players versus teams, particularly as it relates to the trade process.
LeBron James – arguably the most influential player in any team sport – was asked about Green’s comments Tuesday following the Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Knowing his words hold weight, James said he wanted to be “strategic” with how his words were conveyed, but he still had a decent bit to say.
“It’s the narrative of what the league has always been,” James began.
“From a team’s perspective they control the narrative. They’ve controlled the narrative of how players should be, how they should act, how they should treat their organization and if things don’t go their way they have a way of getting out the narrative that this person or that person is a bad fit or a cancer to the team or whatever the case may be. They’ve always controlled that narrative.”
James said players don’t necessarily seek change, but they “want people to understand that it’s two sides to the coin. It’s not just one-sided.”
Green, in part of his nearly three-minute soliloquy Monday, said that “At some point, as players, we need to be treated with the same respect and have the same rights that the team can have.
“Because as a player, you’re the worst person in the world when you want a different situation. But a team can say they’re trading you. And that man is to stay in shape, he is to stay professional. And if not, his career is on the line. At some point, this league has to protect the players from embarrassment like that.”
James was very complimentary of Green, and said of his longtime competitor’s argument for more equal treatment for players: “I’m right with him. That is the way of the land, that’s how it’s always been. We want to be able to have an opportunity to create and also be able to control our own destiny at times as well….
“How do we change it? It’s all about communication. It’s all about being respectful, being a great teammate – because at the end of the day your teammates will speak for you. Organizations will try to throw you under the bus and we’ve seen it over the course of time throughout a lot of athletes, (organizations) will try to throw you under the bus. But in the long run if you talk to a lot of the former teammates, a lot of the guys that’s played the game, you talk to those guys they’ll be like ‘man, he’s a hell of guy. We loved him in the locker room, he was great.’ I think you just talk to former teammates and they’ll tell you about him.”
Contributing: Matt Eppers