There’s a sense that the foundation that sent the Cleveland Cavaliers to three straight NBA Finals — and brought the city its first major sports championship in 54 years — is crumbling. From the decision of owner Dan Gilbert not to pay up and listen to GM David Griffin to the aging roster of role players to the rumors of LeBron James leaving next summer, there are reasons for concern.
Kyrie Irving was attending the Sports Illustrated Fashionable 50 event Tuesday night when SI’s Maggie Gray asked him how different this Cavaliers team could look in a couple of years.
“Like I said, we’re in a peculiar place,” Irving said. “The best thing we can do is handle things with class and professionalism. Obviously, we have a great owner that’s willing to spend a little money on guys that he believes in. At this point, we just see what happens throughout the summer.”
Dan Gibert is willing to spend, he’s paying the tax to keep this team together. Just don’t confuse that with spending smartly. While the Cavaliers have brought back Kyle Korver and signed Jose Calderon this summer, the Rockets went out and signed P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute — the kind of wing defenders Cleveland needs against Boston and Golden State. This team needed to focus on the big picture and without Griffin could not pull it off.
It’s impossible to say what LeBron will do in the summer of 2018 — he doesn’t know yet — but he is keeping his options open. That includes leaving, but it also includes staying. He’s going to see how this season plays out, how the management situation with the Cavaliers plays out, then weigh his options. None of that will stop the rampant speculation that will follow the team all season — every Instagram post will send fans into a frenzy.
The Cavaliers, with all this drama, are still the team to beat in the East. That said, Boston has narrowed the gap. If the cracks in the foundation in Cleveland keep growing, the Celtics are poised to pounce, and the speculation about the future in Cleveland will only grow louder.