Report: Dan Gilbert operating as if LeBron James will opt out next summer, leave Cavs
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has rid himself of a nightmare, having traded Kyrie Irving through a long-extensive process that ended up with his general manager, Koby Altman, milking an additional pick from the Boston Celtics as compensation for the length of Isaiah Thomas’ injury.
Yet he may face another nightmare if all the effort that went into the trade doesn’t prove as enough reason to keep his team’s cornerstone, LeBron James, at home at the end of this season.
According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, Gilbert is “operating under the assumption that LeBron will opt out of his contract next summer and leave Cleveland.”
Assuming Thomas’ hip shows no further concerns, the Cavs would lose James for nothing for a second time, due to his ultimate no-trade clause. Cleveland would also be forced to move a lot of the role players’ hefty contracts in order to restructure the team around Thomas and Kevin Love.
While it’s still not a certainty that he will leave The Land, Gilbert is operating based on the facts that are on the table, which is James not signing a long-term deal to remain with the team — one that has the front office preoccupied for what’s to come — trying to set up a team that can win now and hopefully win in the future as well.