We’ve talked about this before, the trade of Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn pick next draft likely made the Cavaliers better this season — Thomas can put up offensive numbers close to Irving (Thomas was better last year in the regular season), and the Cavaliers need wing defenders like Jae Crowder (he was the steal of this deal by the Cavs).
But that’s likely not enough to make LeBron James stay in Cleveland next summer when he is a free agent.
Don’t just take my word for it (although my opinion was informed to talking to people around the league). Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report got some people to talk about it for a story.
The prevailing sentiment among the league executives B/R contacted remains that when it comes time to exercise the option on his final contract year with the Cavaliers, James won’t.
“He’s out,” a Western Conference scout says.
“Foregone conclusion,” one Eastern Conference general manager adds.
LeBron is wisely going to leave all his options open — and one of those options is opting out then re-signing in Cleveland. If the Cavaliers somehow knock off the Warriors (or whoever comes out of the West) and wins another ring, he stays. Maybe even if he thinks they are close he remains.
But good luck finding anyone around the league who thinks that will be the case. Whether it’s to head to Los Angeles to win with the Lakers and be closer to his post-career entertainment industry business, or whether it is a move somewhere else with another star, the consensus is LeBron is gone. He’s just to smart to shut any doors because a season is a lifetime in the NBA and things can change.