Latest On LeBron James

LeBron James would still like to finish his career in Cleveland, but the events of the past year have him wondering if he can ever win another title there, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

A second straight lopsided Finals is only part of the picture, Windhorst notes, as the past 12 months have seen the loss of GM David Griffin, the trade of Kyrie Irving, a health scare for coach Tyronn Lue and two extreme roster makeovers. Mental mistakes from teammates in the Finals, highlighted by J.R. Smith‘s error at the end of Game 1, led to James wonder this week, “How do you put together a group of talent but also a group of minds to be able to compete” with the Warriors.

Cleveland enters this summer with no cap room and a once-promising draft pick that landed in the middle of the lottery. The Celtics and Sixers both took huge steps forward this season and appear to be the powers in the Eastern Conference for years to come, presenting a significant obstacle for James to ever reach the Finals again if he stays in Cleveland.

On top of that, Windhorst notes, there’s a trust issue with owner Dan Gilbert and a limited relationship with GM Koby Altman, who is barley older than James. In theory, the Cavs have the advantage of being able to offer a longer and richer contract than anyone else — five years at more than $200MM. However, James hasn’t inked a deal longer than two years since returning to Cleveland and seems to prefer the power he holds with short-term arrangements.

There’s more on LeBron as free agent speculation heats up:

  • Expect the Cavaliers to see what they can get for a package of Kevin Love and the No. 8 pick in an attempt to convince James to stay, reports ESPN’s Zach Lowe. The team passed on chances to deal Love at close to maximum value and will have a hard time obtaining even half of that at this point, Lowe adds.
  • Matt Goul of Cleveland.com is running through several potential scenarios involving James and the team’s future. His first story involves James staying in Cleveland and the Cavs trying to improve by drafting a starter at No. 8 and adding a free agent with their $5.4MM mid-level exception. Goul identifies several unrestricted free agents 30 or younger who may be available at that price: Celtics center Greg Monroe, Nets center Jahlil Okafor, Suns center Alex Len, Mavericks center Nerlens Noel, Nuggets guard Will Barton and Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans.
  • Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype examines eight potential free agent destinations for James: the Clippers, Heat, Spurs, Warriors, Rockets, Lakers, Sixers and Celtics, as well as a potential future with the Cavaliers.
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45 thoughts on “Latest On LeBron James

  1. southbeachbully

    There should be no trust issue with regards to Dan Gilbert. He’s proven that he’s willing to spend as much as needed and to make bold trades when things aren’t working well and LBJ expresses a need for change. I wonder what else might there be to worry about as it pertains to LBJ/Gilbert.

    Also, other than being 1 year older I don’t see why Love would’ve lost any luster. Injuries like a concussion tend not to linger and that’s not a degenerative issue at this point (over the next 2 years at least). But I don’t see trading Love as a solution to a problem. It’s the lack of value the Cavs are getting from Smith/Thompson/Hill/Clarkson.

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    • You trade people with value if you want a return, and, if not, why bother? Do you really think anyone is taking the problem?

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      • southbeachbully

        I never claimed those contracts would be easy to move. However, this is the nba and teams, especially those rebuilding, have a mandate to meet the salary floor. If guys like Mozgov, Delly and others can get huge multi-year contracts as role players then I don’t think it’s absurd to think that somehow those contracts might be movable. For what in return is the issue.

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        • Of course they can move the bad contracts, but NOT for assets (usually the opposite). To acquire assets, you have to trade players with positive value.

          But there’s no mandate to reach the floor. If you don’t, then you just have to pay the difference proportionately to your other players. It’s never happened because it’s easy to meet the floor without even spending to the floor. Just acquire or sign contracts in the last months of the season at an annual salary amount that gets you to the floor and it fully counts.

          No team has ever acquired a bad contract to meet the floor (or otherwise) without being compensated in draft picks or valuable players? Even with compensation, it wouldn’t be contracts with multiple years left.

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  2. Dionis

    Lebron needs to change his style of play. He makes everyone a jumpshooter.

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    • bennyg

      LeBron needs jump shooters who can hit their open shots, not consistently miss them all

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      • Dionis

        Not everyone just wants to stand around waiting for Lebron to pass them the ball. Don’t you see how Livingston,West, and Iguodala score on the Warriors. They are scoring on backdoor cuts,transition,drives to the rim. On the Cavs Lebron pushes the break 80 percent of the time.

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        • southbeachbully

          Wow….really?

          Livingston was never a shooter. West is a post player off the bench. Iguodala was never a shooter and more of a do-it-all scorer and defensive player.

          On the Cavs, their shooters are Smith (32% FG), Korver (an astoundingly dismal 9% 3pt FG), Love (32% 3pt FG) and Clarkston (0 for 3) simply didn’t do their job. Overall, the Cavs ranked 6th in 3pt % at 37% for the regular season and dropped to an abysmal 29% in the finals.

          Plain and simple…LBJ says “I’ll take on 70% of the load, give me the rest” and the everyone else w/ the exception of Love, failed to do their part. It’s especially bad for the specialty guys like Korver and Smith who are basically the teams spot up shooters.

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          • Dionis

            And that’s the problem, why does he have to shoulder 70 percent of the load? He doesn’t have to, he chooses to so he can pile up points rebounds and assists and stat pad.

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            • knickscavsfan

              Because other than Love the rest are largely specialists or one dimensional

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    • ohiodevil

      You need to change you commenting style….you make everyone who reads your posts dumber.

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      • Dionis

        I’m not asking you to reply, I’m free to comment whatever I please if you don’t like it than you have the problem.

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        • padam

          Ironic you feel LeBron need to change his style, yet when someone points out you need to as well, you refuse.

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        • x%sure

          Lebron is a grown man and does not need your advice. Giving it over & over does not make it right. It’s still un-understanding.

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  3. At some point Gilbert has got to throw his hands up and say who cares. Pleasing LeBron was behind almost all of their asset depletion trades, and each off season complains about asset depletion. KI was the exception to pleasing LeBron, but it was LeBron that KI wanted to get away from. He’s the best player in the league, but the championship window has closed and the luxury tax bill and the restrictions on operating that result have to be exhausting for a runner up.

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    • Dionis

      Durant has surpassed Lebron as the best in the game, I would take Curry,Durant, and a healthy Kawhi over Lebron.

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      • southbeachbully

        82 Games-37 minutes (leading the lge), 27/9/9 on 37% from 3pt and 54% overall.

        No…Curry, Durant and Kawhi have not surpassed LBJ. Durant has yet to prove he can carry a team on his own without 3 other all-stars. Period. He went head to head against the 73 win GSW, who were later beaten by LBJ, and then decided he couldn’t beat them so joint them.

        All 4 are great players but there’s levels to this and LBJ is still top banana. Obviously, he probably doesn’t have too many more of those years ahead of him, but going into 2018/2019 he’s still the best.

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        • Dionis

          Kyrie Irving actually beat that 73 win team. I saw the games and there is no way the Cavs win Game 7 without Kyrie. Kyrie won Lebron a ring and skated on him.

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          • knickscavsfan

            And there’s no way Kyrie would win that without LBJ. Keep in mind James took the Warrriors to game 6 the first year when both Kyrie and Love were injured and lead both teams in everything basically. Dude…. I hated LBJ when he went to Miami. I’m a Knicks/ Cavs fan. Kyrie was my favorite player. I’m more appreciative of LBJ’s career than I am a fan. You clearly have some issues with LBJ.

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    • ChiSoxCity

      LeBron is too controlling. Instead of accepting roles and allowing his teammates to play to their strengths, he forces everyone to play to HIS strengths. He can really learn much from Kevin Durant, Kobe and MJ; pick your spots in the first three quarters, then be a fourth quarter assassin and take over the scoring. Let someone else pass the ball and run point.

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      • ChiSoxCity

        Lastly, if LeBron had even an ounce of loyalty, dedication or respect, he’d stay in Cleveland and finish his career. Of course we all know he does not, so Houston would be the best fit with Harden and Paul. If he learns to adjust to his new teammates, they could win a few championships. Philly won’t work because Simmon’s and Embiid’s skill sets aren’t good matches for LeBron, and they have as much basketball I.Q. as his current teammates in Cleveland. Boston will easily defeat them in the ECF.

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      • southbeachbully

        You have it backwards. The specialized role player and 3/5th of the starters didn’t do THEIR jobs. He’s not asking Korver or Smith to rebound, assist or drive to the basket. He’s not asking Tristan to shoot 3s or run the offense. He’s asking him to defend and rebound, especially on the offensive boards. They are catch and shoot guys and they just didn’t do it in the finals.

        Jordan had Kerr, Grant and a slew of other specialty guys and while they weren’t all-stars they did their jobs. Cavs just missed way too many wide open shots or shots at the rim. You can’t miss those vs a team like the GSW. And the lack of defense, including LBJs at times, was appalling at times.

        Our role players performed pathetically (Smith, Hill, Green, Clarkson and Kolver shot a combined 27%) while we allowed Bell (10-14), McGee (16 for 20) and Livingston (13-15) look much better than they are (combined for 80% FG!!!!!) .

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      • elscorcho the marlin
        elscorcho the marlin

        Haha. MJ? He was forced to allow his teammates to help by Phil Jackson. And he still wanted 70% after that.

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  4. Meadowlark

    Headline Cleveland: NBA jerseys are made of a fabric blend that includes polyester derived from recycled plastic water bottles. What will be the preferred method for burning Cavaliers jersey #23 this time around?

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    • southbeachbully

      No one is burning his jersey this time. He came and achieved an amazing goal of bringing the only chip any Cleveland sports fan under 70 has been able to enjoy in their lifetime.

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  5. madmanTX

    LeBron joins the Rockets and he’ll win multiple championships.

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  6. formerlyz

    Theoretically, it would potentially be Cleveland’s best option if LeBron leaves this offseason. If they’re bad enough next year, they can potentially draft RJ Barrett or Zion Williamson, add that to drafting Mikal Bridges this season, and in 3 years, LeBron can come back for the last 3 or 4 years of his career.

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  7. Man all this hate for The King, is getting old. Specially Dionis, seriously did you ever watch MJ play, I mean Lebron is so much better, it is embarrassing to even compare them. Even the guys who played against them say so, IT said with Jordan you knew he was gonna outscore you every game, but that is it, with Lebron he can defeat you in so many ways, he can do everything, Jordan, Kobe & other guys could only score… shooting a lot by the way, MJ would shot 25-30 times per game, so did Kobe, they could shot even their snickers, frustrating for other guys that they didn’t pass, unlike them Lebron passes a lot, better than most playmakers, just respect him man, he is the GOAT.

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    • hiflew

      All Jordan could do is score? You mean the guy that led the league in steals 3 times? The guy who was All Defensive Team 9 times? The guy who won Defensive Player of the Year once? That guy?

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  8. x%sure

    When you call yourself king, you pick up a lot of the worst sorts.

    The Cavs had the playmakers James wanted– Rose, Wade, IT. But they were all spastically thrown out in one day, two of them for nothing. Granted, head cases. But Wade at least should have been kept. Hill cannot keep the petal to the metal; Clarkson can but is a kid.

    Why is the media not reporting on signandtrade possibilities? There’s a lot of rules to parse.
    One where James and Paul combine, and the Cavs get draft picks and expirings, is ideal. Mavs, Bulls, Magic, Clippers, Suns, Sixers. James-Leonard trade. James-Zinger trade.

    If James does not get a campaign going with CPaul, that will be his biggest regret.

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  9. x%sure

    The best thing for James AND the Cavs may be if he takes a couple years away.
    Trade him for young talent, draft picks and expirings. Then they can draw him back home, rearmed. James has years left.

    The Rockets do not own Paul’s rights now! But what does he want? They can’t all fit on the Rockets.
    MVP or no, Harden is actially an expensive burden to winning a title. There are other targets.

    One example:
    James traded to 76rs for:
    Fultz, Holmes, Covingtn, Bayless, #10 + #26 pick. Salaries match.
    Then pick Carter, Alexander, and a 3&D wing.
    For the Sixers, these are not crucial players. James replaces RoCo. But there is still room to sign CPaul and more!– like Ilyasova. Reddick, possible.

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    • Dionis

      I like that Sixers deal I just don’t see Alexander available at 26. Why not invest the 10th pick on a forward like Knox. He’s a risk at the 8th pick but man he could be special. Fultz will be a monster also so I’m with it, Covington first team all defense I’ll take it.

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      • x%sure

        8- Carter, 10-Alexander, 26- 3&D wing, maybe Khyri Thomas. That name would almost send a message!

        I like the way SGA can start the offense deep, like Hill when he’s on, or Irving did; the rest is coming along steady for him. Carter because Lebron wants smart players. I will be hoping he returns.

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  10. x%sure

    BTW I have learned from Windhorst (in a nice write for espn) that it is not necessary to consider the hazards of signandtrade rules regarding James OR Paul(ufa). James can simply “opt-in-and-arrange” like a normal person lol.

    DALLAS trade, James&Paul joins Barnes, Smith, Barea & Dirk: Paul signs ufa after James traded for Mathews, Powell, Kleber, #5(Bamba?), #33,& #54.

    Would Cuban want to get to the tpp fast? And boy would Rocket fans be mad.

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    • ldfanatic

      The Mavericks will remain the third-best team in Texas for the next decade. get used to it.

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  11. reneaguerra

    I think I just saw LaBron at “in & out” in Santa Monica with his board shorts on carrying a beach towel.

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  12. Meadowlark

    Are you sure Rene? I am almost positive I saw him eating ajdovi žganci in Ljubljana preparatory to trying out for the Slovenian national team.

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  13. tealmarlin

    All I see is Lebron needs. Lebron is going to do what is best for him. I’ll love to see him come to Miami and build something, he left us hanging. We got a real coach, and a real president. He doesn’t need to take charge in Miami. Spo ain’t Lue.

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  14. nutznboltz

    Fact: LeBron and his family were touring Newport Harbor day school today. That’s where Kobe‘s kids go.

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