Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman is still trying to put the pieces of his franchise back together after LeBron James chose to leave for Los Angeles, and he got some valuable advice from the one person who understands more than anyone in the world how he might be feeling.
In a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at LeBron’s latest decision and the ripple effect it has had across the league, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne revealed that Altman received a call from Miami Heat general manager Andy Elisburg the morning after James announced he will sign with the Lakers.
“I called him and said, ‘Well, did the sun come up this morning?'” Elisburg recalled asking Altman. “And he said, ‘Yes, it came up.’ And I said, ‘Well, I just want to let you know it’s going to come up tomorrow too.'”
Elisburg said he was “so angry and emotional” when LeBron left Miami in 2014 that he thought he was having a heart attack. But once the initial shock wore off, he realized there was nothing he could have done to change LeBron’s mind. He relayed that message to Altman.
“I came in the next day around 9, 10 o’clock in the morning, went to the whiteboard, started putting down names and building the roster like we’d always done,” Elisburg told Altman. “You have to realize, it always ends. It never ends the way you want it to end, but it ends, and you have to start again.
“But no matter what, it was an incredible four years. You won a championship, you know? Nothing takes that away.”
Altman said he appreciated Elisburg’s words of wisdom.
“He said he wouldn’t have given up his four years with him for the world, and I feel the same way,” the Cavs GM said. “To have four years of the Finals under my belt and the experience of working with the best player maybe ever … it’s incredible.”
Bad breakups always involve intense emotions, and we saw the most infamous example of that when Cavs owner Dan Gilbert blasted LeBron with his infamous letter in 2010. Heat president Pat Riley also had somewhat of an ugly breakup with James, and it may have provided LeBron with his “secret motivation” when the Cavs won the NBA Finals two years ago. This time, it’s almost as if everyone knew what was going to happen. That probably didn’t make it any easier for Altman, but the perspective from Elisburg seems like it was helpful.
The Cleveland Cavaliers may not be trying to blow up their roster, but they certainly look poised to make some changes ahead of next season.
According to Terry Pluto of cleveland.com, the Cavaliers are aiming to move winger Kyle Korver via trade if possible to clear his salary off the books and move him to a better fit. Korver is due $7.5 million over each of the next two seasons, with $3.4 million of it guaranteed for 2019-20.
Pluto believes the Los Angeles Lakers could be a good fit for Korver, given the presence of LeBron James and their lack of quality perimeter shooting, but that is only speculation.
Korver is a very good role player, but he’s not good enough to be a focal point on a new-look Cavaliers team. It makes sense that they’d try to move him, which makes him different from one of his teammates who looks more likely to remain.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly open to trading Kevin Love now that LeBron James is signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, but teams that are thinking about low-balling them with a trade offer probably shouldn’t waste their time.
Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer spoke with a well-known NBA executive who questioned how motivated the Cavs are to part ways with the player who is now their biggest star.
“Unless they get blown away by an offer, I think they’ll open the season with Love,” the executive said.
Love is entering the final year of his contract, and he’s set to make $24 million. He also has a player option worth $25.6 million for the following season, but he seems unlikely to exercise it. According to the exec Pluto spoke with, the Cavs know they should be able to get more for Love if they wait until the trade deadline next season.
“Because I think he’ll be more in demand during the season by the trading deadline,” the executive said. “Kevin could have a very good year for the Cavs being the focal point of the offense. He is a talented player.”
Love was an All-Star last season and averaged 17.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. His scoring in Cleveland has never been anywhere close to the 26.1 points he averaged in his final season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Love could boost his stock a ton if he puts up big numbers with LeBron gone. He’ll only turn 30 this offseason, so he should have an opportunity to sign one more max contract.
The Cavs are making an effort to convince teams they are not looking to deal Love, and that could be more about timing than anything. They don’t want to look like they’re blowing everything up and starting from scratch now that LeBron left, as that would weaken their stance in trade talks. Even if they don’t plan on keeping Love through next season, denying that he is for sale makes sense from a business standpoint.
Despite their insistence otherwise, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly willing to trade Kevin Love if the right deal comes their way.
According to Jason Lloyd of the Athletic, league sources indicate that the Cavaliers are “open” to moving Love despite the organization’s public insistence that he will stay to be part of an effort to remain in contention.
It would make sense for the Cavaliers to try to move Love. With LeBron James gone, they’re no longer a title contender. Moreover, the Cavaliers’ first-round selection next season is top-ten protected and will go to the Atlanta Hawks otherwise. The Cavaliers have some incentive to be bad in order to keep that pick.
Team sources have repeatedly denied that Love would be shopped if James left. That may be just posturing, especially if they can get a good deal for him.
There was no Comic Sans letter this time.
The Cleveland Cavaliers issued a statement late Sunday evening from team owner Dan Gilbert about the departure of franchise icon LeBron James. Rather than criticize James in an angry and bitter letter like he did after James left Cleveland last time, Gilbert instead took the opportunity to express gratitude towards James for bringing the city and franchise a championship.
“We will always remember the evening of June 19, 2016 as the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, ended the 52-year drought delivering the long elusive championship that many thought they would never see… A championship that united generations of Clevelanders, both living and passed,” Gilbert said.
“Virtually anyone with roots in Northeast Ohio paused and felt the memories of the past and the utter joy that the burden of the so-called ‘curse’ was finally a thing of the past. Cleveland, Ohio was the home of a championship team for the first time since 1964. Words do not express the meaning and the feeling this accomplishment brought to the people of Northeast Ohio.
“None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land. The entire Cavaliers franchise thanks LeBron for that precious moment and for all of the excitement he delivered as he led our team to four straight NBA Finals appearances.”
After thanking LeBron for bringing the Cavs a title, Gilbert then praised James for his contributions and commitment to the area, and wished his best to the James family.
“LeBron is a family man, first. We wish his kids, his wife Savannah, his mother Gloria, and LeBron himself nothing but the best in the years and decades ahead. LeBron’s connection to Akron, Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio will most certainly endure as his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes has been impactful to so many kids and families.
“LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line…”
Gilbert not feeling hurt this team is an incredible change to the way things were last time around. It is quite clear that James is leaving on amicable terms and that his positive legacy in Cleveland is cemented, which is exactly how it should be.
The Cleveland Cavaliers made a shrewd (or shady, depending on your perspective) move this year to make sure floor seats at Quicken Loans Arena will be occupied for the next few seasons.
The Cavaliers knew they were facing an important summer with the possibility of LeBron James leaving as a free agent to join another team. The organization’s worst fear was realized when James announced he would be joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
After James left Cleveland to join the Miami Heat in 2010, lean years followed for the Cavaliers. Many feel the same will be the case now that James has departed once again. With a reasonable chance attendance figures will decline, the Cavaliers reportedly decided to make season ticket holders with floor seats commit in February for the next three seasons.
It would be completely understandable if fans with those prime seats no longer wanted them with the NBA’s best player no longer playing there 41 times a season. Unfortunately, it sounds like they are locked in for a few more seasons. But if you ask Dan Gilbert, he’ll probably tell you those fans are better off now.
LeBron James has no plans to meet face-to-face with the Cleveland Cavaliers once free agency opens, according to a report.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, James’s agent Rich Paul will conduct all his free agent business by phone, even with his other clients. As further evidence that this should not necessarily be taken as a bad sign by the Cavaliers, James’s camp has been in contact with the team on a regular basis since the end of the season.
In fact, James’s decision to opt out is being viewed through an optimistic lens by Cleveland. Cavaliers brass feared that, if he opted in, it would be an effort to force a sign-and-trade to a team like the Houston Rockets that didn’t have the cap space to sign him.
Reports have indicated James isn’t really looking for flashy free agency pitches. This certainly ties in with that.
It does not sound like you should expect to see a massive rebuild if LeBron James leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer.
According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the Cavaliers have no plans to trade forward Kevin Love even if James departs via free agency. Cleveland would instead prefer to keep Love and try to build a playoff team without James instead of tearing it all down and starting over.
“There is no reason to go backwards,” one source said of the Cavaliers moving forward without James.
In fact, Love’s best shot of remaining in Cleveland may be if James leaves. A source added that nobody on the roster would be untouchable in a scenario in which James returns, as the Cavaliers would look for opportunities to add veteran talent around him. Otherwise, a James departure would likely mean a team built around Love and rookie Collin Sexton, and would also give them the financial room to maneuver and bring in some new supplementary pieces.
Love has voiced a desire to remain in Cleveland despite the constant trade rumors that surround him. It sounds as though he may get his wish.
The decision LeBron James made to not opt into his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers for next season is viewed by most as a mere technicality, but Las Vegas oddsmakers clearly think it is an indication of where he will end up this summer.
On Friday morning, LeBron informed the Cavs that he will not be picking up the $35.6 million player option on his deal. NBA reporters were quick to note that Cleveland is still in the mix to sign LeBron and opting in probably would have meant a trade is in place, but Vegas wasted no time shifting championship odds for the 2018-19 season.
Before LeBron decided not to opt in, the Cavs were at 12/1 odds to win the NBA Finals next year. That quickly plummeted to 40/1 at one sportsbook and 50/1 at another. The Los Angeles Lakers were 7/1 to win it all as of Friday afternoon.
If you’re a believer in Vegas insiders always having the answers, the LeBron sweepstakes are already over. Oddsmakers have made it clear which team they think King James is going to sign with.
LeBron James informed the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday that he will not opt into the one year remaining on his deal, but that does not mean the team has no chance to bring him back next season.
After news of LeBron’s decision surfaced, Brian Windhorst of ESPN noted that the Cavs remain “firmly in the mix” to re-sign the four-time NBA MVP. The team most negatively impacted is the Rockets, whose most realistic path to adding LeBron would have been by way of a trade.
The Cavs can still offer James significantly more money than any other team, but it is unlikely that the size and length of the contract will be the biggest consideration for LeBron.
Despite the subtle hints he may or may not be dropping on social media, it seems like LeBron’s decision will come down to the Cavs and Los Angeles Lakers.