LeBron James on recruiting: ‘People didn’t wanna come to Cleveland,’ easier in Miami and Los Angeles

AP Photo/Phil Long

Kevin Durant explained why stars might not want to play with LeBron James – LeBron’s need to control the ball, LeBron-obsessed media.

Now, LeBron is explaining the real impediment to him luring stars – Cleveland.

LeBron, in a Q&A with Rachel Nichols of ESPN:

RN: So you’re gonna recruit because …

LJ: Oh, I’ve always recruited. I’ve always recruited. I don’t know — is this something new? I’ve been recruiting. I’ve been trying to get guys to come play with me since, like, 2007. I’ve got rejected a lot. But I also have not got rejected a lot. A lot of people didn’t wanna come to Cleveland, let me just throw that out there.

RN: So you don’t feel it was you?

LJ: No, I don’t feel that was me. I tried to recruit so many guys to come to Cleveland, and we actually had — I had a couple guys, and it just didn’t work out.

RN: Tell me now, don’t wait for the 30 for 30. Tell me now.

LJ: No, I don’t wanna — I don’t wanna. But it wasn’t hard getting guys in Miami, I’ll tell you that. So now that I think being in L.A., I don’t think it would be that hard to get guys here. But we gotta win. At the end of the day, it’s all about winning. So that’s my job right now is to show everybody that I can win, with whatever.

This isn’t an either-or situation. Durant and LeBron are both right to varying degrees.

Some stars don’t want to change their game to fit around LeBron. Some stars don’t want a teammate dominating storylines. Some stars don’t want to play in Cleveland. Some stars fit multiple of these descriptions. Some stars fit none.

Everyone has their own priorities.

The big question: What are Anthony Davis‘? He’s the latest greatest star LeBron is recruiting.

Getting Davis to the Lakers is clearly a priority for LeBron, but LeBron also isn’t missing another chance to rub salt in the Cavaliers’ wound. It feels a little cruel for LeBron to bolt Cleveland then call attention to the city’s second-class reputation among NBA stars. LeBron sure hasn’t shied away from discussing the Cavs’ problems.

To be fair, the Cavaliers have also talked about LeBron’s issues. And LeBron is right: NBA players generally prefer Los Angeles and Miami to Cleveland. The weather and nightlife are better, and those are understandably key considerations for young rich people.