Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
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On the first night of free agency, all was quiet for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But in the case of the Cavs, no news is not terrible news when it comes to their hopes of re-signing LeBron James.
According to ESPN, Cavs general manager Koby Altman spoke to both James and his agent, Rich Paul, when the negotiating period began at 12:01 a.m. EST on Sunday.
According to Amico Hoops sources, Altman told James and Paul the Cavs continue to see James as not just an important player, but an important partner. Translation: The Cavs are making it clear that they would like to remain in business with LeBron and his management team for a long, long time.
Altman almost certainly mentioned the fact the Cavs can offer James a supermax contract, as well as the fact they are working hard on several potential trades.
Still, the Cavs had not been informed of any decision from James as of 1:15 a.m.
That’s not such a bad thing.
This is James’ third foray into this sort of free-agent arrangement. His previous announcements have been reserved for a much grander scale. No one really expected from him to tip his hand in the middle of the night.
He has an announcement coming, and he will do it his way. He will make a splash.
As for the Cavs, well, it’s the other ripples heard ’round the league that should give them hope.
Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George re-upped with his former team.
So much for George and James joining forces with the Los Angeles Lakers anytime soon. George reportedly agreed to a four-year, maximum contract. Unless the Thunder decide otherwise, he’s going to be in OKC for a while.
Then there were the rumors of the Houston Rockets. Point guard Chris Paul signed a max deal to return to the team — and the Rockets and Lakers could still very well be in play for James.
But those who insisted LeBron will leave the Cavs have to be feeling a bit nervous right now.
DeAndre Jordan bolted the Los Angeles Clippers for the Dallas Mavericks.
DeMarcus Cousins will meet with the Lakers … but also the New Orleans Pelicans, his most-recent club and the supposed frontrunner.
And the Clippers intend to continue their pursuit of San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard.
It’s true that the Cavs haven’t done squat. But neither have the Lakers.
There is no perfect situation for LeBron.
Unless, of course, you’re talking about money. While the national media tends to spin stories to make it sound as if the dollars are no big deal, it has been brushing over one noteworthy truth — namely, nobody can pay James like the Cavs.
Nor does it seem relevant to the ongoing narrative that the Cavs have made four straight appearances in the Finals. It’s true the East is the easier of the two conferences, but that’s something that works in the Cavs’ favor.
If James goes to LA without George, or Paul, or Cousins, or Leonard … well, forget about the Finals. The Lakers might make the playoffs. They might get out of the first round. But sorry, the current Lakers team with just LeBron ain’t beating the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game series.
The Cavs won’t, either. Not as currently constructed. But getting to the Finals with the Cavs is probably a lot better than not getting there with someone else.
Does all of this mean James is undoubtedly returning to the Cavs?
Hardly. What seems like a hundred scenarios are likely still very much in play.
But the Cavs suddenly seem to have some very obvious, very real advantages when it comes to keeping their basketball king. And so far, they’ve compiled those advantages without needing to make a single move.