Wade and LeBron react to 'loyalty' and Dwight Howard debates

Mar 17 2012 - 5:46pm

PHILADELPHIA -- Dwyane Wade injected himself into the dialogue; LeBron James spoke as if he would have preferred to have been left out of the debate.

A day after Dwight Howard committed to the Orlando Magic for at least one more season, invoking James' name into the conversation, and a day after Wade posted on his Twitter account, "Loyalty hahahahaha," the Miami Heat stars were asked about becoming part of the story.

Wade said his post was not directed at Howard or any other player, but about the concept of loyalty in general, as well as in the NBA.

"Loyalty means damned if you do, damned if you don't," he said. "That's the new definition of loyalty in the world, there you go."

As the Heat completed preparations for Friday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center, Wade continued his discourse on loyalty, "It's the world we live in. It is in anything, it ain't just the NBA. It's in any part of life. So loyalty is not just about one person.

"When I say, 'Loyalty, ha ha,' that's the world, damned if you do, damned if you don't. It's going to be bad things said about you, whatever you choose to do."

During Thursday's announcement in Orlando about his decision to bypass his opt-out clause for 2012-13, Howard referenced James' decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Heat in 2010 free agency.

"Nobody wants to be hated," Howard said at his Thursday media session.

"I don't think LeBron wants to be hated, but he did what he felt was best for him. The way he did it could have been wrong, but he did what was best for him. And he has to live with it, just like me."

James was asked Friday if he was surprised Howard invoked his name.

"I think his situation is totally different from mine," James said.

"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.

"Dwight's situation is they were going down to the deadline. 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 him 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."

Wade said that it simply is how it is, that James is doomed to have such moments repeat themselves.

"In all fairness," Wade said, "he's the only one who went through free agency.

"But no matter what happens, we all know it comes back to LeBron. I was watching the Peyton Manning press conference. I love Peyton Manning, but I said, 'I guarantee you in five seconds it's going to come back to LeBron.' Right back to him, that's how you do a press conference. He understands that. It's just been a butt of any joke and if you want to make something seem a certain way, you go back to LeBron."

That's exactly where it went, and it again left James rehashing recent history.

"I mean, I know it's going to come up," James said of such references.

"I think people should realize I was unrestricted and I was free, as a free agent. That's what the collective bargaining is all about, that's why the rules are put in like that. And my situation is different from theirs.

"But I understand that every time someone has an opportunity to leave or go, my name will come up."

Wade said he, too, figures to remain part of such discussions, which is why he said he had no regrets about his Twitter post.

"People still call me a traitor," he said, having bypassed the option in 2010 free-agency to play for his hometown Chicago Bulls. "I don't know why. I've been in Miami for nine years. It doesn't matter, man.

"Whatever you decide, if it's not what everyone wants you to decide, then everyone is not going to be in agreement. But you can't live your life worrying about that, at all. No one can. That's why you have fun with it. That's why I like to enjoy it and have fun with it."

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