Several reports have come out that LeBron “The King” James was concerned about the Cavaliers’ offseason and management’s inability to put together a roster that can compete with its 3-time Finals rival Golden State Warriors.
The Cavaliers were whipped by the Warriors four games to one in the recent Finals despite James’ Herculean efforts. James became the first player to average a triple-double in NBA Finals history (33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 10.0 assists).
Instead of doubling down, the first move made by the ownership under Dan Gilbert was to dismantle the front office headed by General Manager David Griffin. Under Griffin, the Cavaliers won their first ever NBA title in 2016. This did not sit well with the players including King James.
The Cavs offered former NBA champion and ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups the job but he turned down the offer. The Cavs are basically rudderless at the moment due to Griffin leaving. Allegedly, Gilbert let go of Griffin due to the latter’s insistence of more autonomy, something that Gilbert’s ego couldn’t stand.
In the meantime, the top players found new homes. Jimmy Butler went to Minnesota, Paul George to Oklahoma, Chris Paul to Houston, and their Eastern Conference rival Boston Celtics landed Gordon Hayward aside from getting young talents. The Cavs, so far, has done absolutely nothing to bridge the talent gap with the Warriors. Their notable additions so far: adding over-the-hill players’ Jose Calderon and Jeff Green. The Warriors have basically kept their core intact and even convinced NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant to take a $10 million pay cut. The Warriors look to lord it over the NBA, at least in the next two years.
For King James all these developments are alarming. He will turn 33 before the end of the year and as it stands, the Cavs can still make it out in the East but will probably fall short again with their current line-up. At this point in his career, James just wants to win and chase the ghosts of the other greats. Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant have five titles each while Michael Jordan has six. James has carried his teams to seven straight NBA Finals and despite having played 14 years in the league, he still has enough in the tank but time is fast running out.
Already, stories are coming out that the King might bolt to another, more competitive team to win his titles if he feels that the Cavaliers have reached their peak. Additionally, one can’t help but think that there is still bad blood between Gilbert and James. If you recall, Gilbert basically dissed James back in 2010 when he went to Miami swearing that the Cavs will win their first title before the King does. James shot back that he would never play for Gilbert again.
A big decision point would be triggered by how the Cavs would fare next season. Winning a title would probably mean that James would retire in a Cavs uniform while another Finals loss would lead to the King taking his talents somewhere else.