LeBron James will not waive his no trade clause. A sour…

LeBron James will not waive his no trade clause. A source told cleveland.com as much on Saturday night. James may even choose to resign with the Cavs this summer, and at any rate would not want to be dealt to a team that he didn’t hand pick as the precise, right situation for him.

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Before getting out of the arena and safely onto a plane away from Saturday night's mess, Paul offered a warning. He's one of James' closest friends and he admits he's biased. But he's also one of the smartest men in the NBA and someone who has tried to chase a championship for years and failed. "You've got LeBron James over there in that locker room. You know what I mean? What else the man need to do?" Paul said. "Don't take it for granted, man, don't take it for granted."
Kevin Love, who will make $24.1 million next year, has a $25.6 million option for 2019-20. League sources believe the Cavs would try to move Love without James here, but no team sources have confirmed it.
It's dangerous in the NBA to overreact; it gets people fired and it costs people wins, respect and money. The season is long, and that makes it forgiving, which is why anyone who has much experience preaches patience. But the Cleveland Cavaliers are out of time. It's preposterous to say that in February for a team with a history of turning things around and doing it when they have to. However, they are in a preposterous situation. They aren't just looking at losing this season, but they are looking at losing LeBron James. If tomorrow were the beginning of free agency, there's a good chance that would be the case.
The Cavs' players do not trust each other. It appears as if some of them don't like each other. Two of them -- Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye -- were told they'd probably get traded two weeks ago but then weren't. Their coach has been hesitant to shake up the lineup as he has failed to motivate his veteran team. Tyronn Lue's performance has been questioned in recent weeks. His fidelity to playing certain lineups while abandoning others that previously were highly successful is so mystifying that it has launched conspiracy theories. Nonetheless, he is not at the center of the storm. This is all a whirlwind around LeBron James vs. the Cavs' front office, which is to say it's about James vs. owner Dan Gilbert.
Dave McMenamin: LeBron James vociferously shot down the Warriors story and said to only trust information that comes straight from his mouth regarding free agency. He said he will deal with that in the summer and his only focus is getting the Cavs back to a fourth straight Finals.
Jorge Sedano: .@ChrisBHaynes tells us now on @ESPNLosAngeles if these teams had a max slot LeBron would listen to them b/c he respects them. Teams are the Warriors, Spurs, & less so the Heat (b/c he's been there done that). Wouldn't rule out Lakers, Cavs & Rockets. No Clippers.
Don’t count Kevin Durant among those buying into that league-shaking scenario. When asked about the report later on Thursday, the Warriors forward literally called “bulls—” on it. Twice, in fact. However, Durant then went on to point out that “just like a couple of years ago,” when “nobody would have thought” that he himself would have wound up with the Warriors, many “crazy things have happened” since he arrived in the NBA.
“Before we start, I know you guys have to ask, but I can't talk about other players on other teams,” Myers opened. “I'm not allowed to, I wouldn't do it anyway. Ask your questions, I understand you have to do your job, too. But just to lay that out there.” “How about a hypothetical 6-foot-8 power forward?” said a voice from the back, coming from the same news anchor who had broken up the media fight minutes earlier. “Hypotheticals should be disallowed, too,” Myers said.
Melissa Rohlin: Kerr on if he'd like to coach LeBron James: "You're really going to ask that? Do you want me to get my checkbook out? I could just make it out to Adam Silver? Or to the NBA? You know that's illegal. I'm not answering that."
.@ChrisBHaynes tells us now on @ESPNLosAngeles if these teams had a max slot LeBron James would listen to them b/c he respects them. Teams are the Warriors, Spurs, & less so the Heat (b/c he's been there done that). Wouldn't rule out Lakers, Cavs & Rockets. No Clippers.
Out of respect for the Warriors' winning culture, James would listen if Golden State explored ways to clear the necessary cap space, sources said. This offseason, James is expected to decline his $35.6 million player option and become an unrestricted free agent for the third time in his career, although re-signing with Cleveland is not out of the question.
A sign-and-trade scenario would be the most realistic way for Golden State to acquire James. The Warriors could build an offer around Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala to match salary and tempt the Cavaliers into making a deal, according to ESPN's Kevin Pelton. To make a sign-and-trade possible, Golden State also would need Kevin Durant to decline his player option and take even less than his current annual salary of $25 million, in addition to moving Shaun Livingston's salary to a team with cap space. Golden State probably would have to fill out its bench with players making the league minimum.
But things fell through, and for one pretty big reason. The Cavs reportedly wanted Hill to be willing to take a buyout after this season in the event that Cavs star LeBron James bolted via free agency. Cavs Insider Brian Windhorst addressed the busted deal Tuesday. “So (the Cavs) didn’t want to buy him out this year,” Windhorst said on ESPN Radio. “What they wanted to do was protect themselves in the event that LeBron James left, whether George Hill would be willing to take a buyout on the 20 million he’s owed on his contract after the season.”
As of now,James is not expected to consider the Clippers as a free agent, a source close to him said. A source close to the Clippers said they also don’t expect James to consider them in free agency. But the Clippers have to make the call.
Happily, at long last for the Lakers, they’re warming up, if not red hot. It may be because Magic, still a charismatic figure, is in charge, or that Kupchak did a good job before being fired so that they finally have the right young players, even if none of them is Joel Embiid or Karl-Anthony Towns. Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are showing signs of being special, as has Lonzo Ball in an earlier stage of development. Julius Randle, thought to be outward bound for cap room, has clawed his way up the pecking order. A year ago if you asked how many of their players had shown they were special as opposed to merely promising, the answer would have been none. Magic still dreams like a Laker, targeting the top free agents: Bron, Paul George and, at least until last week’s injury, DeMarcus Cousins.
When Larry Nance Jr. hears rumors about LeBron James, Paul George and/or DeMarcus Cousins potentially joining the Lakers, does he get excited? “Um, hmm. So-so. I mean, like I said, there are rumors that LeBron is going to go [everywhere]. There are rumors about everything. Obviously, everybody knows about the Paul George stuff and that whole saga. Now there’s [talk like], ‘LeBron may come to L.A. and he just bought a house there]!’ And yeah, we read all of that. We read all of the clickbait stuff. But in reality, we’re just focused on what’s in front of us. We’re just trying to be the best team we can be and if someone like LeBron James or Paul George or one of those stars does come here in the summer, then it’s like, ‘Whew! That would increase our win total by, like, 20!’ You read it. You look at it. But in terms of paying attention to it? Not too much.”

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Sam Amick on LeBron James' future: “I don’t know where he goes, but with the mood of the moment – for a lot of obvious reasons – I’m leaning toward him leaving. I understand people who say that the [best way] to stay in the Finals every year is staying in Cleveland because of the East, but Boston and Toronto are legit so I think that narrative is a little outdated at this point. If he stays in Cleveland, I don’t think there’s any guarantee whatsoever that he’s getting back to the Finals. The days of surrounding LeBron with some halfway-capable players and he’ll take them to the Finals are gone. I think the relationship stuff is also a major factor. I talked about Dan Gilbert a bit earlier and the reality that doesn’t get talked about enough is that, from my understanding, LeBron and Dan mended fences enough to get to this point where they won a title and have been to the Finals multiple years in a row. But it’s not like they had a Kumbaya moment and became best friends

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Sam Amick on LeBron to Houston: “I wrote about [LeBron going to] Houston earlier this year and heard some really, really interesting stuff on that front, so I’m a little bit of a sucker for that idea. I know people say, ‘Don’t go West! Why would you get into the ring with the Warriors and the Spurs and this new-look Thunder team if they can figure it out?’ But, for one, the Rockets showed us just a few nights ago that they can beat the Warriors. They have his best friend Chris Paul. And I’m not trying to make too much of a friendship, but those guys would play wonderfully together along with James Harden, who I think is the MVP right now.
On Sam hearing that LeBron looking at a school in LA was a huge misunderstanding. Sam Amick: "Someone I really trust told me that the school subplot – that LeBron and his wife were already looking for a school in Los Angeles for their kids – was a complete misunderstanding. Maybe it’s not the case. But they said that he was shooting a commercial near that school and said, ‘I want to take a breather and get some shots in. Where is there a court near here?’ And he wound up shooting hoops at the school and then afterward, they were just poking around before going back to the commercial shoot. But they said he was shooting a commercial right nearby and that’s the only reason he was in the neighborhood. But who knows?”
The Cavaliers have had some hesitancy about the guaranteed $19 million remaining on Hill's contract in the 2018-19 season, league sources said, especially if LeBron James leaves in free agency and the Cavaliers move toward a rebuild. Only $1 million of the $18 million on his 2019-20 contract is guaranteed, making it easy to waive Hill.
My best advice when it comes to the looming third installment of the LeBron Sweepstakes: Don’t just assume he’s going to the Lakers in free agency … and don’t write off the Cavaliers yet. King James’ free agency choice is the storyline that will lord over the whole league in 2018, but I tend to believe he’s still months away from knowing what he wants to do, despite the persistent chatter that he’s Hollywood-bound.
Magic Johnson's biggest task will be to give Lonzo Ball -- who is averaging 12 points, 10.3 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 3.3 steals in his past three games -- superstars to pass to. The Lakers will try to add two stars this summer when LeBron James is expected to headline the free agency class, and Worthy thinks his old point guard will not come up empty-handed. "You look at what Magic Johnson has been able to do throughout his basketball career, [and] in his post-basketball career, he's been able to manifest pretty good deals," the former Lakers great said. "When Magic is in the room, that is a major asset trying to recruit. "With Kobe [Bryant] gone and the young core players that we have, and I think players understand and see what Lonzo Ball brings to the table as a point guard, I really think we are in a good place and I think [Johnson] will be able to deliver next year."
Lavar Ball also said he is confident that LeBron James, whom he has never met, will be coming to the Lakers this offseason as a free agent. "LeBron's coming to L.A. I know he's coming to L.A.," Ball said. "LeBron is not a fool. What's the only way he can beat Jordan? You can't get more championships. Only one way, to say every team I've gone to I've won a championship. Go to Lakers and win a championship, then you're better than Jordan.
Ahead of his team's 129-110 home loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday night, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo -- who currently tops all All-Star Game fan voting, including a roughly 7,500-vote lead over LeBron James -- said he'd pick the Cleveland Cavaliers star first if he maintains his advantage and is designated a team captain. "So, first of all, if my teammates aren't available -- I'm going with my teammates -- I'd gotta go with LeBron James," Antetokounmpo said with a laugh. "The best player in the world. We can have a good relationship in free agency -- you never know, he might come play here."
According to NBA insider Eric Pincus, the Lakers will target both DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George closer to the NBA Trade Deadline. "Plan A for the Lakers is still LeBron James. Having said that, at the deadline, the Lakers have two targets: Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins. I think George is more of a long shot since the Thunder seem to have figured things out over the last 10 games. However, the Pelicans are a different story because they're just above .500. If they don't climb the standings, they will be open to move Cousins," Pincus said during the LakersNation Podcast.
Alex: What do you think LeBron will do? If you had to make a prediction: Do you think he re-signs in Cleveland? Or does he go to Los Angeles, Houston? What do you think he does? Marc Spears: I think it depends on how he finishes. I believe the way they lost at the end last time—or perhaps he decided earlier—but it seems like both his departures came after hard season endings, although his mind may have been made up before. Like, for example, no one probably would have mentioned [Philadelphia] beforehand, but now Philly is interesting, right? People would have assumed Lakers before, but now 'oh, no, he wouldn't consider the Lakers.' With him, I think it's fluid. And I also think that if the Cavs were to get the No. 1 pick, you know, get a top top pick with that pick, that potentially he could get a young guy—like, what if he was able to get a top-three pick there? It might be more attractive to stay. With him, to be honest, I don't know that there's a good prediction to make because there's too many different scenarios going on that could affect what he decides.
LeBron James sure ain't quieting down the noise surrounding him coming to L.A. ... and ex-Lakers coach Byron Scott says the odds are damn good that happens. "I think it's probably 50/50 right now," Byron told TMZ Sports outside Craig's in WeHo.
They are underdogs, maybe big ones, but Morey has long promised that he will go for it if he thinks Houston has even a 5 percent chance of winning a ring. He will hunt likely LeBron this summer, per league sources, and hopes to sign Paul to another long-term deal. With Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza headed toward free agency, just bringing this group back could vault Houston well into the luxury tax. Tilman Fertitta, the team's new owner, has said he would pay the tax to preserve a contender.
"We think we have a five-year window with Chris and James," D'Antoni says. A max deal for Paul would be a risk given his age and injury nicks, but Morey will gamble to wring everything from Harden's prime. "It will be up to Chris," Morey says, "but we feel good about it."
It is a delicious fantasy. And yet, in the modern NBA, where superstars change teams and seismic shifts in power seem to shake the league every summer, it's certainly not impossible. Lakers history is filled with similar feats of engineering, most recently in 2008, when they plucked Pau Gasol away from Memphis to team with an in-his-prime Bryant for two NBA championships. So imagining LeBron James' last act coming in purple and gold isn't without basis. But as of now, it's also a longshot, according to league sources. Still, expect the atmosphere, and the intrigue, to be as thick as the winter storm battering Cleveland when the Lakers and Cavaliers play Thursday night.
Also sticking to past protocol, LeBron James himself has resisted any attempt to comment on his impending free agency. Before the season, he said he "won't ever cheat my teammates or cheat the franchise ... by talking about free agency all year long, because I'm not gonna give energy to something I can handle in the summertime." "LeBron is focused on this season and winning a championship," Paul said. "At the appropriate time, we will explore all the options. Now is not the time."
The middle of the regular season is not the time for final decisions, but LeBron James' position on maximum contracts hasn't changed, sources said. Here's what that means: Teams who hope to pitch James next July ought to plan to have the max to offer, which is projected to be about $35 million. For now, there are no plans for James to grant a Kevin Durant-esque discount to any team so that friends can get paid or a better roster can be constructed. Something else a team will need: stars. The last time a team was able to pry James away from his hometown, it took an incumbent star, Dwyane Wade, and a joining star, Chris Bosh.
There's reason to pay attention to the Houston connection. LeBron James and Chris Paul have been friends since high school, won two gold medals together and recently led the players' union through CBA negotiations with Paul as president and James as VP. They are in position to be free agents at the same time for the first time in their careers next summer. However, league sources called the concept that James and Paul want to spend their golden years as teammates an overstated assumption.
While James has made it clear that he won’t deliberate his uncertain future until the Cavs’ season is complete, there is strong belief in Rockets circles that they’ll have a legitimate shot at landing the four-time MVP this summer. Rival executives also believe the Rockets will have a real chance. And once you really look at it, when you get past all the noise about the Lakers and even the compelling case for the up-and-coming Philadelphia 76ers, it makes all sorts of sense.
As for how Houston could find a way to give max salary contracts starting at $35 million annually to both James (who has a player option worth $35.3 million for next season) and Paul (who will be a free agent) without the necessary cap space, Morey would indeed have to become a salary cap gymnast. The NBA salary cap is expected to be $101 million next season, and the Rockets are, well, capped out. But Morey is one of the league’s renowned risk takers, the kind of relentless executive who might already have hypothetical trades lined up for players like Ryan Anderson and others who would have to go for the Rockets to be able to sign one of the greatest players of all time in James. It’s also seen as possible that, like Kevin Durant did last summer with the Warriors, Paul could take less money to make James’ salary fit.
Sorry, Laker Nation -- Robert Horry says LeBron swoopin' up another castle in L.A. does NOT mean King James is joining Lonzo and friends next year. We got the Lakers playoffs legend leaving Blake Griffin's comedy show in Hollywood ... and Horry broke it down for us, plain and simple. "You got money like that, you can have two big cribs anywhere you wanna have 'em!!" Big Shot Bob told TMZ Sports.
Where is Nerlens Noel going to have the surgery? In Cleveland, hometown of LeBron James and a headquarters for agent Rich Paul, who reps both LeBron and Noel and yeah, it's kind of an open secret now that the fellas are plotting ways to end up together, maybe next July 1 via free agency to the Los Angeles Lakers.
If LeBron James, who can become a free agent after this season, decides to leave the Cavaliers, he could – and should – consider the 76ers, and executives around the league believe Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo will attempt to sign James. The Sixers are an intriguing possibility, and if James’ goal remains competing for championships and Cleveland is no longer the place, the Sixers can make a compelling case.
Let’s start with rudimentary salary cap issues. The Sixers are one of a few teams who have significant salary cap space to use in the summer of 2018. They would need to make a few moves to get close to a $34 million max salary for James in year one, but it can be done. Let’s also point out that James on media day in September said nothing has happened that has changed his stance about finishing his career with the Cavaliers. He also said, “Anytime I’m able to be a free agent or my contract is ending, I’ll approach that when the summer comes.”
LeBron James and Ben Simmons share the same agent, Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul, and while that doesn’t guarantee anything, Paul can deliver to James insight about the Sixers' operations. James is already a fan of Brett Brown, the Sixers’ coach. “The organization has done a great job believing in Brett Brown’s system, believing in what he wanted to do and they gave him time,” James said before the Cavaliers beat the Sixers 113-91 on Monday.
LeBron’s people don’t argue with the notion he may leave Cleveland, just not perhaps for a team near you with marketing point man Maverick Carter pooh-poohing the importance of "gigantic market(s) like Boston or Chicago or New York or L.A.” as opposed to winning titles. Not that the Lakers can’t revamp fast enough to field a contender with Bron, Paul George and their young players... but their last official with a time frame that optimistic was Jim Buss.
James will be a free agent next summer and is noncommittal about his future. Team executives across the league believe he's leaving—though there's a palpable gap between belief and actual knowledge. The reality is, no one knows.
LeBron James' business partner Maverick Carter said James -- in the final year of his deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers -- won't start thinking about his next career step until about a week after the NBA season comes to an end. And when that time comes, location won't play much of a role. "These days it doesn't matter anymore," Carter said during an interview on The Rich Eisen Show early Wednesday morning when asked specifically about the importance of where James plays. "The Lakers and the Knicks have been bad. The Knicks for a very long time and the Lakers since Kobe (Bryant) kind of aged out of being the best player or one of the best players in the league and basketball is doing as great as ever with teams in Oklahoma City and Cleveland. These days it doesn't matter because you can be known and be a star from anywhere in the world. It doesn't actually matter.
So if James, who owns a house in Los Angeles, wants to go in that direction when his NBA career starts winding down, doesn't playing there make perfect sense? "I understand people keep saying that and thinking that. But the reason it doesn't make sense is because if he does play in L.A. or he plays on the moon he can only shoot movies for three months," Carter said. "It doesn't matter. Even if he played in L.A. and wanted to be in a movie, he can't shoot from basically September to June.
How this season finishes and whether the Cavs can dethrone the Golden State Warriors will loom large when it comes to figuring out James' future. As Carter said, that's not going to happen anytime soon. "He never starts thinking about it before the end of the season, Carter said. "Whenever their season ends and hopefully it's in June for his sake and the sake of his family because he goes crazy at home, usually a week after. Decompresses, lets it all calm down and then a week after. Sometimes he can take a little longer but at least a week after."

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Beck: I don’t know, and no one else does either. I do believe, based on people I’ve spoken with in the last six months, that there’s a reasonable chance he leaves Cleveland again. I’ve had team executives swear—as long ago as May—that LeBron’s departure was a near certainty. The general belief around the league is that, if he does leave, he’ll land with the Lakers. How much of that is belief/speculation vs. inside knowledge is hard to say.
What does LeBron James owe the city of Cleveland? "LeBron James owes nobody anything. Nobody. When my mother told me I don't owe her anything, from that point in time, I don't owe anybody anything. But what I will give to the city of Cleveland is passion, commitment, and inspiration. As long as I put that jersey on, that's what I represent. That's why I'm there—to inspire that city. But I don't owe anybody anything."
In many ways, the Cavs' positioning is remarkable, given James' likely free agency next summer and the overwhelming view from outside the organization that things were coming apart at the seams in the offseason. "I think he loves it here," said Wade, who along with James and new general manager Koby Altman agreed to interviews with cleveland.com to preview the Cavs' 2017-18 season, which begins Tuesday against the Boston Celtics. "I could see his mood and being around these guys and everyone that's here," Wade continued. "Obviously we've gotta win ball games, everything's gotta go right and we gotta stay together to continue to have that mood, but right now he's in a great place."
"I was never frustrated throughout the summer," James said. "I don't know where those reports came from. I was enjoying my summer with my family. So, I felt the organization was going to do what's best for the organization. That's their job, so, I wasn't bothered at all."
Well, OK then, LaVar. But there's just one problem: LeBron plays for the Cavaliers. Not for long, according to LaVar. He's convinced LeBron will join Lonzo in Los Angeles next season: "I know it's gonna happen," Ball said. "Let's just keep it real on the business aspect. [LeBron] is one of the best players probably, over Jordan ... but the fact is he hasn't won enough. You been to the Finals too many times and haven't won enough. "But the other thing that makes you better is if you do a three-peat and you won for three different teams. You went to Miami and won. You went to Cleveland and won. Now come to L.A. and win, and guess what? Now you're the greatest player ever if you win two or three in a row.
Reiter then followed up with the question on everyone's mind: If LeBron comes to L.A. to join Lonzo, whose team will it be? "Whose team is it? Man, everybody know whose team it is -- it's Lonzo Ball's team! LeBron's coming over here to join us. We ain't going over there to join him! If you come to my house, and you need somewhere to stay -- it ain't your house because you came here to stay. It's my house!"
Speculation says LeBron James leaves Cleveland after this season. Former Post columnist Peter Vecsey wrote James “unequivocally” will bolt for the Lakers. “I think he leaves and he goes somewhere and he can always point back to, ‘Guys, I came back and gave you everything I have. We won a title but now I have to move on. You traded one of our top players …’” said one rival executive. “And if they have success, it’s a whole other story.”
"[My feelings on Cleveland] haven't changed, that's why I sit here today still in this uniform, still ready to lead this franchise to a championship," James said. "Any time I'm able to be a free agent or my contract is ending, I'll approach that when the summer comes. I don't ever cheat my teammates or cheat the fans or talk about free agency all year long because I'm not going to give energy to something I can handle in the summertime when I should be focused on what I'm doing on a day-to-day basis to help this franchise compete for a championship."
LeBron James said his previously stated intentions to finish his career with the Cavaliers haven't changed, though he would make his decision on his future after this season. "It hasn't changed," James said, when asked. He also nodded when asked if he intended to finish his career in Cleveland.
Accordingly, I’m publicly terminating the pandemic of speculation surrounding LeBron James’ playing plans past this season. For months, many in the media declared or composed presumption the Lakers would be the beneficiaries of his talents when he became a free agent July 1, 2018. I’m eradicating all conjecture and uncertainty! I’m comfortable now in stating unequivocally, LeBron will leave the Cavaliers a second time and join the Lakers, and return the team to LA Lore status.
Multiple league sources suggested to ESPN that a major motivating factor in the Lakers' signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one-year, $18 million deal this offseason was because Caldwell-Pope is repped by Rich Paul, the same agent as James. Now the Lakers can spend a year communicating with Paul, showing him how they run their organization, sharing meals, etc., and it will all be protected under the Caldwell-Pope prism, even if it could prove influential as to what James ultimately decides to do. As for teams being even more covert in their preemptive pursuit of James, a league source familiar with James' past free agencies said more teams would view it as a "waste of time" because James is known for wanting to have the control rather than be wooed.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert hired a private law firm to investigate whether Miami Heat president Pat Riley tampered to bring James to South Beach in 2010. The NBA dismissed Gilbert's claim and absolved the Heat. If James does go somewhere else next summer, you have to wonder if Gilbert will choose to look into tampering once again. Even beyond James' upcoming situation, anytime you hear of a multimillion-dollar deal agreed upon at 9:01 p.m. PT when free agency opens up, tampering will be questioned. Anytime a trade comes out of nowhere, tampering will be questioned. Said one assistant coach to ESPN: "I don't know if it will ever stop."
Westbrook's availability may be the most fleeting. Whispers around the NBA suggest James would love to team up with the explosive guard. How would teams defend two triple-double powerhouses like James and Westbrook? On most nights, they don't... That said, when asked, various NBA executives believe Westbrook will eventually sign his deal with the Thunder.
Julius Erving: “So Lakers, I go back to Shaq when he left Orlando. He wanted to be in movies. There’s something there that’s better to be a part of while you’re playing, so there would be an easier transition after you get out. I could buy that. “I’ve gotten a couple calls from shows where LeBron is an executive producer or show financier, so maybe here in California, it’s a part of that in playing his last few there sets it up.”
At the top of the Lakers’ wish list has to be LeBron James, as the four-time MVP has reached the NBA Finals the last seven seasons and reports around the league suggest that James could be interested in signing with Los Angeles. If the Lakers are able to convince James to make the move then he will likely be involved in the recruiting process to get another star to join him, and according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Westbrook could be his first choice: Whispers around the NBA suggest James would love to team up with the explosive guard.
LaVar spoke with ClutchPoints this week to talk about the family’s new show on Facebook along with a few other few other topics including LeBron James potentially coming to the Los Angeles Lakers next year and whether he’d be a good fit playing alongside his son, Lonzo Ball. “Let me tell you this, it would be a great fit, and LeBron is coming to L.A,” LaVar told ClutchPoints. “What’s in Cleveland? You want to be a superstar, man. Superstar franchise. “It’s going to be like this, and I’m talking about reality. He’s going to say, ‘You know what? I went to Miami. Won a championship. Brought one back to my home town. I’m the only one to go to three different places and bring a championship.’
Multiple sources told me that Gilbert is operating under the assumption that LeBron will opt out of his contract next summer and leave Cleveland. So Gilbert and Altman targeted Irving trade packages that set up the franchise for the post-LeBron era, rather than the instant-gratification deals they’ve made over the past three years (e.g., trading first-rounders for Channing Frye or Kyle Korver).
A front-office executive from another team inquiring about Irving told me that knowing LeBron was staying in Cleveland would have changed what the Cavs asked for in return for Kyrie. Though a wide range of league sources believe LeBron is LeGone, it’s not certain. Regardless, Cleveland doesn’t want to be caught flat-footed.
Kevin Durant thinks LeBron James will stay with the Cavs past this season. Durant's word isn't James' bond, but that's nonetheless comforting for Cleveland fans who are waiting to see if arguably the biggest trade in Cavaliers' history grows even larger, falls apart, or is approved as is by 10 a.m. on Thursday.
Boston was forthright about the injury in talks with Cleveland before the teams agreed to a trade on Aug. 22, sources say, but Cleveland's doctors may come to a different conclusion about Thomas' prognosis for the coming season -- the last before LeBron James enters free agency as a flight risk again. If recovery from various hip ailments, including a bone bruise, does not proceed smoothly, there is at least a slight chance Thomas would miss most of the 2017-18 season, sources say. (Thomas disagrees.)
Chris Broussard: “While the organization is doing their due diligence and being wise in planning for a future without LeBron, I know there are people within that organization that still think he’s not leaving,” Broussard said.
Chris Broussard: “They think this is all just a bunch of drama and talk, and we all know LeBron likes drama. So, again, we don’t know. But if I had to make a pick, I would say he does stay in Cleveland. I wouldn’t bet my house on it, but if you put a gun to my head, I’d predict that he stays in Cleveland. But at this point, I don’t think LeBron knows what he’s going to do. We know that this has been his M.O. for the last several years. Even when he went back to Cleveland from Miami, it was on a short-term deal. He wants to keep to his options open for various reasons – to keep Dan Gilbert on edge, to keep [the front office] trying to make the team better and just for other personal reasons. LeBron likes playing in this situation. I think that’s his M.O. and I don’t think we should assume that he’s definitely leaving Cleveland because he won’t commit there long-term."
Chris Broussard: “However, there is reason to believe that he would leave. Heading into the draft, we know that Cleveland had a deal on the table where they could’ve gotten Eric Bledsoe and Paul George for Kyrie Irving in a three-team deal [with the Phoenix Suns and Indiana Pacers]. Dan Gilbert went to LeBron and wanted him to sign long-term. He said, ‘I’ll do the deal if you sign long-term.’ And I’m told that Paul George was willing to [opt-in] to the final year of his contract. He wasn’t ready to commit long-term, but he told Cleveland, ‘Look, if you do this, I’ll pick up my option,’ so he would’ve been there for two years. And LeBron, still, did not commit long-term. Now, again, I’m not saying this means he is definitely gone, but it’s certainly a red-flag."
Chris Broussard: The fact is, LeBron’s group keeps things very close to the vest. If anybody knows ‘where he’s going,’ it would be his wife, his agent Rich Paul, his business manager Maverick Carter, maybe his associate Randy Mims and maybe his PR guy Adam Mendelsohn, but nobody else. And those people aren’t talking. But again, I don’t think LeBron knows where he’s going yet; I think he’s keeping his options open.
Chris Broussard: “I think if LeBron James leaves Cleveland and it’s all about winning and where he can win the most championships then I think the best move for him would be to go to San Antonio,” Broussard said. “If it’s just about winning – not about wanting to be in LA or maximizing his business opportunities or wanting to be in a glamour market or wanting to go play with his friend Chris Paul or whoever – then he should go to San Antonio.
Storyline: LeBron James Free Agency
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