LeBron James will scoff at Dan Gilbert and what is left of the Cavs front office if the only NBA player they get back in a trade of Kyrie Irving is Eric Bledsoe, as has been rumored recently.
LeBron will be 33-years-old by the time the 2018 NBA Playoffs roll around, so he only has a few years of his playoff peak left. There is no way LeBron would waste one playoff run with a subpar roster around him, no way he would allow Gilbert to hold him hostage in Cleveland. Even LeBron’s buddy Carmelo Anthony doesn’t want to go to the Cavs anymore, given the front office mess, and that is remarkably telling.
So, there are two courses of action Gilbert and the Cavs could take right now when it comes to LeBron (all this assuming he’s made up his mind and is going to Los Angeles in the summer of 2018).
The first is the easiest and most likely – keep Kyrie and try to save the marriage for one year. See what happens.
The second is entirely radical – trade LeBron.
LeBron has said he won’t waive his no trade clause, but if he’s going to the Lakers anyway – why would he turn down a chance to accelerate the process?
The Cavs would like this because they could get a nice package of young players back from the Lakers in return for the best player in the world (the Cavs would be on their way to a nice rebuild if they were to trade both LeBron and Kyrie in the coming months).
The situation regarding the Cavs, Lakers and even the Thunder is fascinating right now. ESPN wrote its obligatory Banana Boat article last week linking the possibility of LeBron, Chris Paul, Carmelo and Dwyane Wade joining forces in LA with the Lakers in 2018. On the outside looking in of that scenario would be Paul George, who seems even more of a certainty to wind up in Purple & Gold next year than LeBron does.
The Thunder are still waiting on Russell Westbrook to sign his max extension and OKC fans are rightfully getting kind of worried that July 1, 2018 could be doomsday. Last week we discussed a world in which LeBron, Westbrook (LA native) and George (LA native) wound up on the Lakers next summer.
So right now – in August of 2017, there’s a giant game of “When and who?” going on. When will Kyrie Irving’s fate be decided in Cleveland, and will that trigger a quicker than expected LeBron exit from the Cavs? And who will be joining LeBron in LA next summer? The banana boat boys, or the top two players currently employed by the Oklahoma City Thunder?
August in the NBA has never been more interesting.