LeBron James is reportedly becoming even more unhappy with the Cavaliers
At last check, it appeared likely that LeBron James would opt out of his contract and leave the Cavaliers next year. James campaigned for general manager David Griffin to keep his job, only to see owner Dan Gilbert oust Griffin days before the NBA Draft. In the aftermath of that decision, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said on Kirk & Callahan that James is the “most vulnerable” he’s been since returning to the Cavaliers in 2014.
Inundated with turmoil, the Cavaliers haven’t been active in free agency so far, and their inaction is reportedly frustrating James. A source close to James told USA Today this week the three-time NBA champion is “concerned” about the Cavaliers’ ability to put together a roster that can compete with the Warriors. Golden State ousted Cleveland in the NBA Finals last season, winning each game by an average of 15.2 points.
According to USA Today, the Cavaliers were close to pulling off a deal for Jimmy Butler last month, but then dismissed Griffin and president of basketball operations Trent Redden. The Bulls wound up shipping Butler to the Timberwolves.
Though the Cavaliers remain Eastern Conference favorites –– they’ve been to the Finals for three straight years –– they seem to be teetering. The Celtics are ready to give them a run, adding Gordon Hayward to a 53-win team that took Cleveland to five games in the most recent Eastern Conference Finals.
Compounding matters is the fact that both Los Angeles teams appear to be positioning themselves to pursue James. The Lakers are clearing cap space, presumably so they can afford James and Paul George in 2018. Meanwhile, the Clippers have reportedly brought in Jerry West for the purpose of courting James in free agency. The two all-time greats are close with each other, despite the nearly 50-year age difference between them.
In NBA circles, the chatter about James leaving Cleveland is only growing louder. “I think he’s as good as gone, and he’s only greasing the skids,” Jalen Rose said recently on ESPN’s “Jake & Jacoby.”
The Cavaliers appear to be in a precarious position, and the Celtics are good enough to pounce.
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Source: GreenStreet Blog