Cavs operating as if LeBron James is leaving
The Cleveland Cavaliers might still have a glimmer of hope at retaining star forward LeBron James, but their front office is surely acting with the expectation that the Cavs’ homegrown hero won’t be there to witness it all next season.
The Cavs reportedly went into the NBA Draft blindfolded, with no clear indication of James’ impending free-agent decision — drafting point guard Collin Sexton with the No. 8 pick and subsequently giving him the iconic No. 2 jersey, only a year after it belonged to Kyrie Irving.
“I don’t think LeBron was involved in their draft pick whatsoever,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during an interview with ESPN Cleveland (via LeBronWire).
Windhorst dissected Altman’s recent words, which align with what the franchise has done since inevitably trading Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics.
“When Koby says we’re in the player development business, and not the “championship winning business,” said Windhorst, implying those words don’t sound like the Cavs are optimistic of seeing James return for next season.
The Cavs’ best chances remain hinged in Paul George, as James is unlikely to bolt for Los Angeles without another max-level star to pair himself with on a quest for more championships.
If George stays with Oklahoma City, James could push his plans to move to greener land to the 2019 offseason, giving the Cavs other chances to build a championship roster around him during this free agency period.
Sexton could play a part of that, but he’s still a rather raw prospect who is yet to develop a consistent jump shot — something that will hinder any potential star partnership between him and James.