- Brian Windhorst, ESPN.com
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"Everyone keeps comparing all these guys' situations to mine," James said.
"I fulfilled my contract in Cleveland. I was an unrestricted free agent and I could have done whatever I wanted to do. I was free, that's what the collective bargaining is all about. That's why the rules is put in like that. ... I think the best thing about (Howard) 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."
Howard had requested a trade, said he would likely opt out of his deal after the season and then finally signed a waiver to stay in Orlando next season. James' decision was brought up once again Thursday when Howard compared his choice and that of James.
"I don't think LeBron wants to be hated, but he did what he felt was best for him," Howard said. "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' teammate Dwyane Wade said that athlete contract situations are now always compared to James -- whether it's appropriate or not.
"No matter what happens, we know it comes back to LeBron," Wade said. "I was watching the Peyton Manning press conference. I love Peyton Manning. I said, 'I guarantee you in five seconds it is going to come back to LeBron.' It came right back to him. It was: 'That's how you do a press conference.' (LeBron) understands that you can make it (James' 2010 ESPN special "The Decision") the butt of any joke."
Wade got himself involved in the matter Thursday following Howard's news conference when he tweeted "Loyalty hahahahaha."
Wade said Friday that he wasn't referring to any one situation or person.
"Think what you want to think," he said. "Loyalty means damned if you do, damned if you don't -- new definition of loyalty in the world. There's going to be good things said about you, there's going to be bad things said about you, no matter what you do."
James said the comparisons are something he's learned to deal with and expects to continue.
"I understand that every time someone has an opportunity to leave or go, my name will come up," James said. "It's been guys that have stayed and guys that have left before me, and there will be guys that stay with their team and leave their team after me."