LeBron James has grown concerned with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ lack of offseason moves to improve the team, according to a report from Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, and that is no small worry.
Zillgitt is well-connected and this message likely comes from someone on James’ team of representatives.
Per the report: “Expecting an aggressive offseason approach that would close the gap on the champion Golden State Warriors, James soon found his anticipation and optimism diminished after Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert dismantled the front office, declining days before the draft and free agency to bring back general manager David Griffin and vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden.”
The report went on to point out the Cavs’ superstar forward will be a free agent at the end of next season — and that many nationally believe he is a strong candidate to switch teams.
Closer to home, though, the feeling is that James is merely trying to send a message to Gilbert and assistant general manager Koby Altman to get busy.
Many of James’ teammates and some within the organization (perhaps Gilbert included) strongly believe he prefers to return to sign the largest contract in Cleveland sports history following the expiration of his current deal. Those people seem to think LeBron is merely using his impending free agency as leverage to keep Gilbert on his toes.
“If the Cavs get (Carmelo Anthony), LeBron ain’t going anywhere,” one opposing GM told Amico Hoops last week.
Anthony is a close friend of James, and the New York Knicks star has indicated he would waive his no-trade clause to play in Cleveland. Earlier this summer, league sources said Anthony was actually angling hard to join the Cavs, but so far, the sides have yet to reach anything close to the parameters of a deal.
Today, the Knicks are believed to actually be more likely to send Anthony to the Houston Rockets than the Cavs.
But Anthony or not, the Cavs are trying to move several players, especially guard Iman Shumpert, though they have had no takers so far. While the Cavs have been active and aggressive in trade talks, every potential deal will either have to be revisited, or has already fallen through entirely.
Other times, opposing league executives told Amico Hoops, the Cavs have just been plain quiet and not called at all.
“Powering this speculation about James and his future is Gilbert’s handling of the front office,” Zillgitt wrote. “Other team executives and agents are asking: What’s going on with the Cavs?”
Is James actually concerned? Probably not as much as it will now suddenly seem on social media.
But for the Cavs, even if James is slightly concerned, it’s a pretty big deal.