Spirit of Competition Loses In LeBron, Carmelo Pairing

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LeBron James Carmelo Anthony

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have set in motion the possibility that within days they can be NBA teammates, dealing the spirit of competition yet another harsh defeat.

No matter what each man ultimately comes to do and whether or not it brings either of them the chip and added recognition they so desperately crave, the growing trend of superstar players scheming their way into joining forces for the sake of remaining competitive rates as a huge miss for the game.

What happened to the idea of a team’s building together, getting better together, winning and conquering together? As much as Michael Jordan abhorred losing to Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Isiah Thomas back in the day, you think he would have ever sought to solve the riddle of taking them down by joining forces with them?

But the way of the world is the way of the world and NBA Nation is certainly no exception. Already at least three teams are rumored to be maneuvering their way into making a play for what could be the league’s latest and perhaps greatest dynamic duo.

“We fully expected LeBron to opt-out and exercise his free agent rights, so this does not come as a surprise,” said Heat president Pat Riley, whose team, with a set of strategic and exaggerated moves, could create as much as $50 million in cap space to chase what would easily rate as the league’s best-scoring tandem.

Try as they might to be coy about the possibilities, James and Anthony have shared a pact and desire to play with one another that spans more than a decade, according to ESPN’s Steven A. Smith, who recently reported since meeting in 2001 the two have more or less had a handshake agreement stipulating as much should the possibility ever arise.

And now that time may be upon us, even if it means whatever team so blessed to sign them would bare little to no resemblance to its former self. In L.A., for more than a year now the Lakers have been praying for a day like this.

At the cost of plodding through the team’s worse record in history, the Lakers fielded such a mix-matched team this season only Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre remain under contract. Their reward for it all?  The team could soon find itself at least some $30 million under the cap they would be more than willing to peel off to James and Anthony.

Trust me, I don’t need Herm Edwards to tell me you play the game to win. But what happened to the pride and rush born in beating the best?

Glenn Minnis is an XN Sports NBA contributor. He has written for the Chicago Tribune, ESPN, BET and AOL. Follow him on Twitter at @glennnyc.