Here’s my take: Charles, like everybody else, is out of line for judging Lebron as cowardly or for implying that he is taking the easy way out. LeBron James did not just join a title contender. He joined a team that had 3 players on it and got bumped from the playoffs in the first round last year. He is going to have to bring all of his basketball prowess to bear if the Heat are going to be the dominant team that they are projected to be. LeBron did not join the Lakers. He is not going to be asked to defend Carmelo and Paul Pierce and make a couple key plays here there and nothing more. No offense to Ron Artest who did both of those things really well.However, I don’t think citing Charles Barkley moving from Phili to Phoenix as a parallel to Lebron leaving Cleveland for Miami works. LeBron left a team that led the league in wins two consecutive years in a row. Charles Barkley left a mismatched team coming off a season where they missed the playoffs. He was forced to play out of position at the 3 (nobody but me remembers this… I can’t explain why) to accommodate Armon Gilliam, an undersized power forward (just like Charles), who like the ball in the same spots on offense and brought the same weaknesses on defense.
Moreover, Phili negotiated a trade that netted them Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang, and Tim Perry. Hornacek alone had an 11.6 Win Share in 1992. Lang and Perry each had a 5.7 Win Share. Barkley only had a 12.3 Win Share that year. So in order for Barkley to “cherry pick” a title on the Suns, he had to replace 23 Win Shares. The Cavs gained a little cap relief and some future draft picks, and the Heat lost everything it had except Wade and Chalmers. It’s just not at all an apples to apples comparison.