With all the turmoil and drama surrounding LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers it creates a disastrous situation for the team and LeBron.
Currently, LeBron has two years left after this season with the Cavaliers and he does not have a player option for 2017, but he does have an option for 2018. LeBron will turn 33 this winter and is clearly on the back end of his career. His 2018 option could be influenced by his desire to form a team with his friends Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony.
Dwyane Wade has a two year deal with the Chicago Bulls and could use his player option this year to enter free agency. Udonis Haslem has said he will recruit Wade back to Heat next summer. For now Wade has not made any indication of what he plans to do going forward after this season. Speculation suggests whether or not his Miami home gets sold will play a pivotal role in his next move. Wade, however, has said it depends on what happens with Jimmy Butler in Chicago.
Chris Paul will be a free agent in 2017 and so far the Clippers have looked abysmal with him being injured. The Clippers look more like a lottery team with Paul out and that could impact his decision to go elsewhere. Where Paul signs could indicate where and if a “super friends” team will form.
Carmelo Anthony is open to a trade and he could opt out of his contract in 2018, the same year LeBron could opt out of Cleveland. The Clippers would like to acquire Anthony, but they refuse to give up Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, or DeAndre Jordan.
Chris Bosh likely won’t be a part of the super team since he still continues to battle blood clots and every day it seems to get closer for his official retirement to be announced.
Question: Would the Cavaliers really trade LeBron James?
This playoff run could mark the end of the Cavaliers dominance over the Eastern Conference. The team is currently faced with salary cap issues and a squad that is not showing improvement. The Cavs should easily blow through the first round no matter who they face, but LeBron worries the team could lose if he goes down with an injury and misses a few games. That could be a lot of trouble in a first round against a red hot Wizards or Heat team, or against the Bulls if they can put themselves back together to hold onto the 8 seed.
The second and third round becomes increasingly difficult as the Cavs has to face a very young and quick Celtics or Raptors team. If the Cavs were to lose and not make it to the NBA Finals or even the Conference Finals it could mean an end to two or three large contracts: LeBron James, Tristan Thompson, or Kevin Love.
The problem: Tristan Thompson.
Thompson will be much harder to trade than LeBron and Kevin Love, because for the most part TT’s contract is longer and he has significantly less value. The Cavaliers cannot use their stretch provision on him at this time for under performing his contract.
The Kobe Deal: Is LeBron worth it?
LeBron is a major trade asset this year and his value could drop. The Cavaliers would command at least two first round picks and be able to shed 30M in cap space. The team could always look to trade Kevin Love, but a Love trade would make no sense since he is younger and entering his prime.
LeBron has been on the decline since 2013 and he is nowhere near what he was in 2014-15 when he returned to Cleveland and had an insane playoff run.At LeBron’s age he could essentially handicap the Cavaliers chances to bring in more talent and cause the team to lose Kyrie Irving to free agency as the Cavaliers decline while other power houses are developing in Boston, Miami, and Philadelphia. Both the Heat and Sixers have two draft picks in this year’s draft. There is significant discussion on possible lottery picks Malik Monk and Markelle Fultz having the potential to become superstars. Monk especially is starting to draw comparisons to Ray Allen and Reggie Miller.
The best trade for the Cavs to make to relieve themselves of the luxury tax and get younger would be to move LeBron James after this season if they lose in the playoffs.
When Kyrie Irving becomes a free agent in a couple years he could command 25M or more and could walk if the Cavs are on the decline when LeBron’s age is expected to be a burden on the team.
Right now the Cavaliers hold the upper hand over LeBron since he does not have a no-trade clause in his contract.