LeBron James said Tuesday night that he would not be waiving his no-trade clause before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
It was an out-of-character moment for the 33-year-old star to address the possibility of being traded from the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers. But James was forced to answer that question not just because the Cavs are in the midst of a downward spiral with seemingly no end in sight, but because a number of NBA teams reportedly have called Cleveland asking about James’ availability.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst went on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” to discuss James’ statement and noted that the star had to address the rumors due to the amount of interest the Cavs have been getting.
“Here was LeBron James having to go on the record to talk about being traded in the middle of the season, and in the very same interview expressing why there is an issue between him and the Cavs,” Windhorst said. “Because he says, ‘I’m here for the long haul … right now.’ That’s the heart of the issues is that the Cavs want him in for the long haul but not just right now.
“But enough teams had gotten word that this situation had gone so poorly that teams were calling to try and gauge whether LeBron was prepared to move on and to waive the no-trade by Thursday, and that’s why LeBron felt he had to say something because teams were calling.”
While James made it clear he wants to finish out the season in Cleveland before deciding whether to opt out of his current contract, Windhorst believes the trade talks could pick up again after the season ends.
“There are teams out there that are willing to put together packages for LeBron in the next 24 hours,” Windhorst said. “That’s been put on hold, but let’s remember this can come back in June because LeBron — like Chris Paul last year — has an option in his contract that he can pick up and then become a trade piece if that’s the direction this goes.”
Things in Cleveland aren’t getting any better, and the noise of James’ potential move this summer only will pick up steam as the Cavs’ season continues to head in the wrong direction.
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