Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports reported Monday that Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James is not happy with his team’s lack of improvement this offseason. After losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals in five games, Cleveland has only acquired veterans Jose Calderon and Jeff Green this summer.
The Cavaliers attempted to make a blockbuster trade which would have shipped Kevin Love to Chicago for Jimmy Butler or to Indiana for Paul George. Talks reportedly fell through with Indiana because the Pacers didn’t want to send their best player to an Eastern Conference foe for only Love, and current Cavs players were reportedly telling Butler to stay away from the “volatile” situation in Cleveland.
Expecting an aggressive offseason approach... James soon found his anticipation and optimism diminished after Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert dismantled the front office by declining to bring back general manager David Griffin and vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden.
James can opt out of his current deal with the team after the upcoming season and potentially leave Cleveland in free agency for a second time. The Cavaliers’ ownership paid about $45 million out of pocket for luxury tax penalties last season, and are facing a much larger bill for this year’s team. It will be very difficult for Cleveland to improve their team going forward, making the possibility of James’ departure even greater.
For the Celtics, the Cavaliers still represent a massive obstacle in Boston’s quest to win their 18th championship. The potential turmoil of James leaving could be an advantage to a Boston team that has improved this summer with the addition of players like Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes, and Jayson Tatum.