As discussion of Dwight Howard has become ubiquitous around the NBA rumor mill this season, pundits have been eager to compare the story of the star Orlando Magic big man to the sagas of other big-name players that have changed hands in recent years -- most notably that of LeBron James, who left the Cleveland Cavaliers two summers ago.
But LeBron spoke out against those comparisons today, saying he didn't like hearing his name lumped in with Howard in discussions of notable NBA exoduses.
"I think his situation is totally different from mine," James told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel today. "Everyone keeps comparing all these guys' situations to mine. I fulfilled my contract in Cleveland. I was an unrestricted free agent, and I was a free agent. I could have done whatever I wanted to do; I could have signed back with the Cavs or leave."
James signed with the Miami Heat after making his much-scrutinized "Decision" on national TV on July 9, 2010. Unlike several of the other big names to change hands in recent years -- guys like Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul -- LeBron refused to create a distraction for his team during the regular season, instead handling his business privately over the summer.
"Dwight's situation is they were going down to the deadline," James pointed out. "I mean, all these other guys going down trade deadline or getting traded, or saying they want to opt in or opt out, my situation is totally different from everyone else's.
"I think the best thing about [Howard] is he's happy. The organization is happy that he's staying, and they can move on with their season. But none of their situations -- not Chris Paul, not Carmelo Anthony, not Dwight Howard -- none of their situations is like mine."