LeBron James has left the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent once before, and he’ll have the ability to do it again next summer. So it comes as no surprise that his uncertain future is impacting how the team is proceeding in trade talks surrounding superstar point guard Kyrie Irving.
“Of course, Cavaliers officials prefer to re-sign James to a long-term deal and chase titles together into his twilight, but the Cavs are treating his unwillingness to commit as a call to protect themselves long term in the Irving trade, league sources said,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote Tuesday.
The upcoming regular season will begin earlier than normal, but we still might not see real intense discussions on an Irving trade until we get much closer to the new campaign.
“This Irving trade process has been deliberate, and teams believe that the Cavaliers expect more aggressive conversations in September, closer to the start of training camps,” Wojnarowski wrote.
James reportedly won’t waive his no-trade clause, so Cleveland’s best, and really, only option to avoid a total disaster in the short term is to trade Irving for a talented young player(s) with several years under team control. Irving still has two more years on his contract, so he’s not a rental, but every day he gets closer to free agency likely lessens his value.
And it’s also easier to incorporate an elite player into a team before the season when there’s plenty of practice time to learn new offensive and defensive schemes. That’s why a September trade does make sense, if it’s going to happen at all.
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images
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