It’s no secret that Dion Waiters wasn’t a good fit for these Cavaliers.
On a team stacked with offensive options like LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, Waiters and his propensity to take as many shots as possible was a skill set that simply wasn’t needed — and nether was the embarrassing way in which he begged for the ball at times.
It’s unclear if James had anything to do with Waiters being sent out of town in the three-team trade that involved the Thunder and the Knicks. But he was consulted about at least one of the players who Cleveland netted in return.
Team officials spoke with LeBron James about his willingness to play alongside Smith before executing the deal, sources said.
Now, for plenty of teams around the league, consulting a star player on personnel moves is something that would be heavily (and rightfully) criticized. You don’t want the lunatics running the asylum, and a sure-fire way to make a mess of things is by having the players call the shots.
But in Cleveland, and especially with LeBron, these are very different circumstances.
James can opt out of his contract at the end of this season to become an unrestricted free agent, and while he reportedly would consider it, the notion of him actually doing so seems preposterous on the surface.
Part of the reason for that is the amount of power that James wields within the Cavaliers organization. LeBron is still arguably the game’s best player, and championships will remain the goal for every one of his next several seasons. He needs to feel good about the moves the front office is making to help build a team around him that is capable of contending, and management consulting him on the players it wants to bring in will only solidify that relationship.