How much say should they have in their organization?
NBA stars LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Dwight Howard have all been called the informal general managers of their respective teams. When you have a superstar, should they have a major say in how their team is run?
Dwight Howard, now playing with the Houston Rockets, has always expressed disappointment in their organizations he played for. With the Orlando Magic in 2012, Howard was a part of the decision to fire then coach, Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy lost his job that season because Howard did not like him anymore and the Magic had no choice but to please their superstar player. Howard also clashed with players and management when he played with the Los Angeles Lakers and now, the Houston Rockets. In Houston, there are two superstars in Howard and James Harden. After a successful season last year, Houston started this season 4-7 and they promptly fired head coach Kevin McHale, with the backing of Harden and Howard. Players also are careful of their play and actions around Harden because they could be traded if they don’t click with the superstar.
Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant revealed his goal to be an NBA general manager someday after his playing career ends at the NBA all star game this year. He believes the players should trust management in their decisions and that players should not have much say in what happpens in term of player and coach personnel. Durant’s teammate Russell Westbrock agrees that superstars should be less demanding in their organizations.
LeBron James is known as the de facto general manager and head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. When James said he would return to the Cavaliers in the summer of 2014, head coach David Blatt had just been hired. Blatt had never coached in the NBA before being hired and people speculated that he would not mesh well with James. Blatt was not a perfect coach in his first year. Cleveland made the NBA finals in Blatt’s first year but James would often leave Blatt out of team meetings and lead the hudle during games. James never trusted Blatt’s judgement. Despite James giving support to his coach in the media, tensions between James and Blatt were obvious. Blatt was fired in the middle of this season and replaced by Tyronn Lue, a former assistant to Blatt and a favorite of James. James was also an integral part of trading for Kevin Love and several other players.
Certainly, pleasing you superstar player is good for the players. In Cleveland, James plays with the players he wants to play with and the players he think will help them win. The plan has worked for Cleveland, making the NBA Finals last year with LeBron and now LeBron is playing for a coach he actually respects. Superstars should have a say in organizational decisions but they should not undermine their general manager or head coach.