LeBron James' influence on the Cleveland Cavaliers varies depending on whom you ask, but there's at least a kernel of truth to the joke that the King is the star, general manager, and head coach of the defending NBA champions.
These barbs rose to a boil when Tristan Thompson—then a reserve big man for Cleveland—held out for a five-year, $82 million contract from Cleveland during the 2015 offseason, making him the sixth-highest-paid power forward in the league for a time. Thompson is a client of Klutch Sports Group, which was co-founded by James. J.R. Smith, also repped by Klutch, landed a four-year, $57 million deal this offseason that will pay him until he's 34.
The King also gets love for his basketball mind.
"You can't surprise LeBron anymore," Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said last week. "His intellect has caught up with his athletic ability. He coaches his teammates. He calls out our plays. He's so ahead of the game, it's not even funny."
Despite his basketball IQ, LeBron doesn't think he has what it takes—thanks to a lesson he learned from his basketball-playing sons.
"No, no, no," James responded immediately when a reporter asked on Sunday if we'd ever see him stalking the sidelines as an actual coach. "I don't have the patience. I can't even coach my own sons' teams so I know I couldn't coach some guys that I don't know."
"No," Fizdale responded to a similar question earlier this season. "He would kill somebody."
But he offered another way for LeBron to continue to leave his mark on the league long after his playing days are over—owning a team, à la Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, now the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
"He wants perfection," the first-year head coach continued. "I could see him actually owning his own team and doing something like that, but I think he would end up killing a player at some point because they wouldn't live up to the expectations that he would set forth."