“Outlandish” was the word LeBron James used Wednesday to dismiss rumors that he might be leaving the Cavaliers again, reports Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. “I’m here to build, build something great in the present and the future, and that’s the reason I’m back,” said the four-time MVP. “I’ve got no other reason to have to continue to talk about things that’s so outlandish. So, I’m here, this is where I’ll be, and this is where I’m comfortable.” Rumors of unrest in Cleveland have accompanied a disappointing 18-14 start and have fueled reports that James is looking elsewhere. He has a two-year, $42.1MM contract with a player option after this season, but he has stated many times that he signed the short deal to maximize his market value.
There’s a lot more from Cleveland:
- Some of those rumors stemmed from a video of a conversation between James and former Heat teammate Dwyane Wade after their Christmas Day game, but Wade tells Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel that they weren’t talking about basketball. “It had nothing to do with [reuniting],” Wade said. “It was about bigger and better things later.”
- Despite the dysfunction in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving says it’s still better than not being in contention, according to Chris Fedor of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. “I’d rather be in this position right now than [where] I was last year,” he said. “We’re just in a great mental place and I’m in a great mental place.” Irving signed a five-year, maximum-salary extension in July.
- It’s up to owner Dan Gilbert to settle the team’s coaching situation, opines Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein contends the Cavaliers made a mistake by hiring David Blatt, who had no experience as an NBA head coach, before they knew if James was returning. He says Gilbert needs to either fire Blatt and take the heat for the move or demand that James throw his full support behind the coach, although he admits the second option is hard to picture considering James’ immense power in the organization.