The Cleveland Cavaliers are apparently willing to make big moves in free agency and on the trade market to convince LeBron James to remain with the franchise, but LeBron is making life difficult for them by not discussing what would make him happy.
ESPN reports that the Cavs have been working on several scenarios for trades and clearing salary cap space to sign free agents, but LeBron has turned down their requests to meet or have a conversation about the plans. While LeBron has operated that way in the past and it’s nothing new for Cleveland, you can understand how it would make navigating the offseason difficult.
According to ESPN, the Cavs are willing to work on finding ways to acquire players like Chris Paul, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard either via trade or free agency, but their chances of doing that become slimmer the longer LeBron keeps the lines of communication closed.
One of the reasons the Cavs chose not to trade the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick that they acquired from the Boston Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade is that they have no idea what LeBron is planning to do this summer. They could have conceivably tried to trade that pick as part of a package for a star veteran, but they did not want to risk going that route and having James leave anyway. Because of the uncertainty, they kept the pick and drafted former Alabama star Collin Sexton at No. 8 overall.
There have been a lot of indications that LeBron has already made up his mind about signing with one specific team, and the Cavs may be the only other franchise in the running. Without LeBron telling them what moves he wants to see them make, anything they do this offseason has risk attached.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have the No. 8 pick in the NBA Draft, and one player they may want to avoid is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was on WKNR in Cleveland on Thursday and said that Gilgeous-Alexander refused to work out for the Cavs and told them he doesn’t want to play for them.
Gilgeous-Alexander played one season at Kentucky. He averaged 14.4 points, 5.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds last season. He shined during the SEC Tournament with a 29-point effort against Tennessee, and he put up 27 against Buffalo in the NCAA Tournament. We’re expecting him to make a big impact on whatever team that drafts him.
The Washington Wizards are reportedly looking to trade Marcin Gortat before the NBA Draft, but they may not be willing to give up the necessary assets to unload the big man.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Wizards are “actively exploring” trade possibilities for Gortat, but they are unwilling to give up the No. 15 overall pick in the draft as part of a potential deal. That is apparently an issue for teams.
Gortat, 34, has one year and $13.5 million remaining on his contract. He appeared in all 82 games for Washington last season and averaged 8.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, but teams may not want to pay that much for an aging big man.
The Wizards would probably be fine with keeping Gortat, but their have been indications that he is not getting along with John Wall. That’s probably part — if not most — of the reason both he and the team are open to parting ways.
A post-LeBron James iteration of the Cleveland Cavaliers would look very different, and not just because of the obvious.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, if James leaves the Cavaliers in free agency, the entire roster would become available, forward Kevin Love first and foremost.
“There isn’t one player on that roster who is guaranteed to be back next year,” Windhorst said on the Hoop Collective podcast, via RealGM. “I think the No. 8 pick is the most likely player (to be with the Cavaliers next season.)
“They start over. They fully make Kevin Love available. I bet they would look for a first round pick in that trade. He’s on the last year of a deal so they don’t want to take on money.”
The Cavaliers would, however, keep trying to win a title.
“Dan Gilbert believes that he can build a championship without LeBron and I believe he’s looking forward to trying,” Windhorst said. “I don’t think he necessarily wants it to be next year. I do believe that Dan Gilbert would like to make a run of it.”
James didn’t have an answer about his future Friday night, but he’ll have no shortage of recruiting pitches. It sounds like a number of other players’ futures hinge on his decision.
There is an argument to be made that leading this Cleveland Cavaliers team to the NBA Finals stands as one of LeBron James’s more impressive career achievements, and there’s one stat that may back that up further.
After being swept Friday night by the Golden State Warriors, the Cavaliers finished the playoffs with a negative point differential, having been outscored on the whole 2,263-2,225 — the first NBA Finalist since the 2002 New Jersey Nets to allow more points than they scored.
Remarkably, the Cavaliers were only barely above water even before they played Golden State. They outscored opponents by just 21 points through the first three rounds of the playoffs, 1,821 to 1,799, with only their sweep of the Toronto Raptors keeping them above water. The Indiana Pacers outscored them 704-664 in the first round, and they only outscored the Boston Celtics by six points total in the Eastern Conference Finals. Much of that is due to the fact that, in losses, the Cavs fell victim to blowouts, while their wins tended to be tighter and less convincing. To be blunt, given how they played at times in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals and finals, it is remarkable that they got as far as they did.
What does this tell us? The Cavaliers were never great defensively and when they lost, they tended to lose badly. The Finals were every bit the mismatch that they seemed to be. Things like this — particularly how the team performed in Friday night’s elimination game — will probably explain why James chooses to depart in search of a team with a better shot at dethroning Golden State, if he does, in fact, leave Cleveland.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors was apparently just as crushing on the inside as it looked from the outside.
After their season-ending 108-85 loss at home in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday, multiple reporters relayed that the Cavs’ locker room was totally silent with players just staring into space and LeBron James slumped at his locker.
This was Cleveland’s fourth straight appearance in the NBA Finals but easily their worst showing yet — they lost the four games against Golden State by a combined 60 points and dropped the final two games at home as the Warriors wound up celebrating on their floor. Yes, they were heavily outmatched from a talent standpoint from the very start of the series. But the Cavs never seemed to recover from their spectacular collapse in a winnable Game 1 at Oracle Arena, and that had to make getting swept that much tougher to swallow.
Now the team enters into an uncertain future with LeBron James set to become a free agent (and many teams already looking to vulture him away), and you get the feeling that the Cavs may see this as the end of an era.
One person who would have liked to see the Cleveland Cavaliers give a better effort on Friday was a player that they faced in the Eastern Conference Finals.
During the Cavs’ season-ending loss to the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris criticized them on Twitter for not competing.
Friday’s game was a lopsided 108-85 affair where the Warriors completed the four-game sweep to clinch the NBA title and where many Cavs seemed to stop caring once they fell behind by double-digits early in the second half. Meanwhile, Morris and the Celtics battled Cleveland to seven hard-fought games the series prior and came just short of toppling them, despite being down their two best players in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
The Cavs’ showing in this year’s NBA Finals appears to have left Morris with a rather bad taste in his mouth, and he definitely was not the only one.
The Cleveland Cavaliers went out with a whimper in Game 4 of the NBA Finals and were swept by the Golden State Warriors. It was a rough way for them to go out, especially after how close Game 1 was.
The Cavs only scored 13 points in the third quarter, began with LeBron James on the bench in the fourth, and appeared to give up. Their poor effort in the second half at home of a Finals sweep led to plenty of criticism.
Here’s a look at some of the comments about them on Twitter:
Rodney Hood has basically been a non-factor for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the postseason, and his playing time has decreased with each series. After he got on the floor for four minutes in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Tyronn Lue says Hood will be called upon to contribute more in Game 3.
Lue told reporters on Tuesday that Hood is going to get an opportunity on Wednesday night, but the Cavs coach would not say if he is planning to make starting lineup changes.
Hood technically got a “chance” in Game 2, but Lue must be talking about giving the 25-year-old more than just four minutes. Given the way the first two games have gone for Cleveland, that makes sense.
After he played horribly in the Cavs’ second-round sweep of the Toronto Raptors, Hood has basically been taken out of Lue’s rotation. He was a DNP in four of the last five games Cleveland played against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, and he didn’t touch the floor in Game 1 against the Warriors.
Hood is fortunate he wasn’t suspended or fined by the Cavs for the stunt he pulled earlier this postseason, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Lue knows his team needs a spark in order to have any chance of beating Golden State, so he might as well give Hood a shot.
Donald Trump made the unprecedented decision to cancel the Philadelphia Eagles’ scheduled visit to the White House this week, and LeBron James says fans should not expect the winner of the NBA Finals to make the trip to the nation’s capital, either.
When asked on Tuesday about the Eagles’ trip being cancelled, LeBron felt comfortable making some pretty powerful remarks on behalf of both his Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.
LeBron also ripped Trump for not inviting the WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx to the White House.
This is not the first time LeBron has made his feelings known about Trump, and he even appeared to intentionally toy with a Trump supporter earlier in the postseason. However, it is noteworthy that he chose to speak on behalf of his teammates and opponents. That says a lot about where today’s NBA players stand.