Category Archives: Cleveland Cavaliers News

LeBron James will not give up the knight’s non-trading terms

No matter the reconstruction of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ roster, no matter the potential for heightened inner turmoil, no matter the win-loss record, and with or without Kyrie Irving, LeBron James will not waive his no-trade clause for any teams at any point during the 2017-18 season, league sources tell ESPN.

James, Dirk Nowitzki and Carmelo Anthony are the only players equipped with no-trade clauses. James holds a $35.6 million player option for the 2018-19 campaign, which means he could elect to test unrestricted free agency next summer.

In regards to that scenario, a decision has not been made.

The four-time MVP winner, according to sources, is focused solely on competing for a championship as a member of the Cavs and will fulfill his contractual obligations, whatever unexpected circumstances may arise.

Irving’s request for a trade has put the franchise in a distressing position considering it has gone to three straight NBA Finals and has captured one title in that span. The Cavaliers are very much in win-now mode, but they face the arduous task of seeking to obtain close to equal value if they trade Irving.

If the Cavs find the most profitable suitor, the process of developing and sustaining continuity begins, and it automatically puts the likes of Golden State and San Antonio laps ahead in that area from the onset of the season. Furthermore, Boston, Toronto and Washington continue to knock on the door of Eastern Conference supremacy.

ESPN reported that James is disappointed with the Irving development, and Cleveland.com reported that he was frustrated by owner Dan Gilbert sabotaging the front office and the lack of offseason moves. However, sources are adamant that James is committed to leading the team with the personnel the organization imports to training camp in September.

His primary focus is next season, an entire season with the Cavs in pursuit of another championship.

The source said that the knight’s pursuit of Jimmy Butler, Paul George encountered obstacles

The Cleveland Cavaliers remain seriously interested in trading for Chicago’s Jimmy Butler or Indiana’s Paul George, but have encountered significant obstacles on both fronts, according to league sources.

Sources said Tuesday that the Cavaliers have been notified that Butler hopes to stay with the Bulls and would be reluctant to commit his long-term future to Cleveland. Butler, sources said, remains intent on trying to lead the Bulls back to Eastern Conference prominence.

 

Paul George
When it comes to George, meanwhile, ESPN reported earlier Tuesday that the Indiana Pacers have commenced trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers, who overwhelmingly rank as his preferred destination as his own free agency looms in the summer of 2018.

One option for the the Lakers, sources say, is trying to sell the Pacers on a trade package headlined by the 27th pick — acquired as part of an agreed-to deal with Brooklyn on Tuesday — and 28th overall picks in Thursday night’s draft in addition to players such as forward Julius Randle and guard Jordan Clarkson. Indiana, meanwhile, continues to try to pry away Thursday’s No. 2 overall pick despite L.A.’s well-chronicled determination to keep it off limits.

Sources say that David Griffin, in his final few days as Cavaliers general manager, aggressively pursued trades for both Butler and George, seeking to acquire an elite two-way player in the wake of Cleveland’s 4-1 NBA Finals defeat inflicted by the Golden State Warriors.

But Griffin and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert abruptly announced Monday night that they were parting ways, just three days before the Draft and less than two weeks before the June 30 expiration of Griffin’s contract.

To land either Butler or George, sources say, Cleveland knows it would have to assemble a three-team (or more) trade — likely costing them All-Star forward Kevin Love — to manufacture the top-five draft pick Chicago and Indiana are known to covet in exchange for surrendering their respective best players.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst reported Monday night that Gilbert himself, alongside Cavaliers assistant general manager Koby Altman, would continue to aggressively pursue upgrades to the roster as Cleveland enters the final season James is under contract.

But sacrificing Love to acquire Butler or George — even for a historically bold team like the Cavaliers — would be risky if neither player is prepared to make a long-term commitment to the franchise.

George has been widely expected since the All-Star break in February to do anything he can to land with the Lakers in the summer of 2018, while Butler could become a free agent as early as July 2019.

LeBron’s traditions – 3-5 Finals records and all – as complete as MJ

OAKLAND, Calif. — For a moment, just imagine if LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the playoffs.

Now imagine those Raptors moving on to the NBA Finals, eventually getting swept by the league’s best team, the 2017 champion Golden State Warriors.LeBron James

 

What would the commentary be surrounding James right now? In today’s hot-take culture and with all the in-progress legacy judging, what sort of scrutiny would James be facing on a daily basis?

Here’s why that question is relevant: James, at age 32, just ended this Finals run short of winning a fourth championship.

Now let’s step back to 1995 for a moment. That year, a 32-year-old Michael Jordan lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Orlando Magic, a team that eventually got roasted in the Finals by the Houston Rockets in a sweep. Jordan’s attempt at winning his fourth title came up short — well short, in fact.

James has already graduated to no longer playing against just the opponents in front of him and instead must grapple with an invisible man to feed the appetite of the modern sports fan.

Jordan hasn’t taken a shot in the NBA in 14 years and hasn’t played a playoff minute in almost 20, since sweeping past Bryon Russell and the Utah Jazz in 1998. Jordan’s body of work has aged like the fine red wine James will be drinking over the next few weeks as he decompresses from a fifth Finals loss.

Of course, the circumstances are different. Jordan took 18 months off after his first three title runs to play baseball. During that same span in James’ career, he has been busy dragging two Cleveland teams into the Finals to be series underdogs.

Jordan got a pass for losing to the Magic because he came back midseason that year. But a case could be made he had an advantage because he had fresh legs. He certainly didn’t come back expecting to lose in the playoffs; he came back to win the title that the Rockets walked away with.

When was the last time James got a pass for anything? Maybe for the 2015 Finals, when Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were stripped away because of injuries and the Cavs lost in six games to the Warriors.

It didn’t feel like a pass when James spent the past year being told he was a Draymond Green Game 5 suspension away from having lost three straight Finals. James averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the 2015 Finals. He finished this year’s with averages of 33.6 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, becoming the first player to average a triple-double in the Finals.

This, after passing Jordan as the all-time leader in playoff scoring. Despite what critics might think, that is not the résumé of a loser.

James has been to the Finals eight times, six of those as the Vegas underdog. Give that poker hand to anyone else in NBA history and see how many come up with three titles. See how many more could’ve been so statistically dominant in defeat as James has been.

We constantly hear about Jordan being a spotless 6-0 in the Finals, but we don’t hear that Jordan was 6-7 in getting to the Finals in his 13 postseasons, and James is now 8-4 in his 12 postseasons.

“This is my eighth trip to the Finals, and I’ve had some pretty good ones in my day,” James said after his team bowed out in Game 5 on Monday night.

“I just try to do everything to just try to help this team win and more. And I just try to put in the work. I put in the work individually, in the film room, in my mind, my body every single day to prepare myself for whatever obstacle that this ballclub entails. Does it always result in us winning? No. This is my third year [back in Cleveland], and we haven’t won every game. We haven’t won every Finals, obviously. We lost two of them. So, but like I’ve always told myself, if you feel like you put in the work and you leave it out on the floor, then you can always push forward and not look backwards.”

A year ago, with the Cavs looking as if they were going to lose again to the Warriors, Hall of Famer Jerry West gave a full-throated defense of James’ career, his face turning red as he stood on the floor of Oracle Arena.

“You do your best, you try your best, you play your best and you’re still not good enough to get your team to where you want to go, and that’s to be last man standing,” said West, who lost in the Finals eight times before winning.

“You think you’re frustrated? How would you like to get there eight times and not win? I told LeBron, ‘I wanted to quit.’ In the height of my career, I wanted to quit. I was so angry, so frustrated.”

West once almost punched a heckler who criticized him for his Finals record when he was jogging through his neighborhood in Los Angeles in the offseason. Imagine if he’d had Twitter.

Monday night, James pulled on a black hat and walked into the Oakland night with his head held high and his shoulders back, declaring he accepted the outcome because he’d left all of it on the floor.

Queen’s “We Are the Champions” was still echoing and with fireworks exploding outside when Irving had his say. The point guard, his right quad and lower back barking after suffering a hard fall during Game 5, rubbed his face as he expressed his feelings on the Cavaliers’ leader.

“I think that some people would say that he’s on the toe of — like he’s on the line of greatness. But that guy is way over. Man, he’s freaking awesome,” Irving said.

“It would be a disservice to myself if I didn’t try to learn as much as possible while I’m playing with this guy,” Irving said. “Every single day demanding more out of himself, demanding more out of us, the true testament of a consummate professional. … I couldn’t be more proud of that guy.”

Yes, LeBron James is 3-5 in the Finals. But his legacy has never been more intact.