After a drastic defeat in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers headed into the off-season with intentions of improving the roster. In return, the franchise got one of the worst off-seasons of a team coming off of an NBA Finals appearance in recent history.
Even though the Cavs are going through a lot of changes, certain players are starting to get upset with the organization, and more importantly, one of them happens to be superstar LeBron James. With all that has occurred in Cleveland, should James leave the Cavaliers during the 2018 free agency period?
In 74 games last season, James averaged 26.4 points, 8.7 assists, and 8.6 rebounds per game. Many believed that James and company were the favorites to make it back into the NBA Finals. On the other hand, many also believed there were questions involving Cleveland’s durability. By the end, the Cavaliers went on to finish with a record of 51-32, which placed them in second within the Eastern Conference.
The Cavs went on to answer any looming questions, as they essentially steamrolled through the Eastern Conference playoffs. Dropping only one game before the NBA Finals, a handful of NBA fanatics went on to claim that Cleveland could give Golden State a run for their money. While their assumption appeared inaccurate, James has been the best basketball player in the world on a yearly basis.
Ever since getting drafted first overall in the 2003 NBA Draft, James proved to become a force within the league. One aspect that many love about James is his ability to take it to the hoop, as well as his desire to share the ball when need be. With a mindset such as his, James has even been argued as the greatest NBA star of all-time.
After the 2009-10 season, James suddenly hit the free agency market. While the small forward received a large offer to re-sign with the Cavaliers, he ultimately elected to leave the franchise that drafted him in order to join the Miami Heat. Known as the “Big Three”, James was able to join the likes of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Although it caused a lot of negative feedback in his direction, James made the decision that he felt would help win him championships.
During his time in Miami, James was a big part in helping the Heat reach the NBA Finals in four straight years (2010-13). After the Heat started to lose a handful of series’ in the Finals, rumors started to point in the direction of James potentially leaving Miami in order to re-join the Cavaliers.
During the 2014 off-season, the rumors then became facts, as James signed a two-year, $42.2 million contract to return to Cleveland. While the headline appeared to be that James wanted to bring a ring to Ohio, James continued to rub some the wrong way.
During the 2015-16 playoffs, James finally brought home a championship to the city of Ohio with a victory over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA FInals. This was not the last time James would be playing the Warriors in the NBA Finals, the year before both teams played each other where Golden State won the title and this past NBA Finals the two teams met for the third year in a row and Golden State once again won the title over the Cavaliers.
When James returned to Cleveland, the front office went all-in, acquiring Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, along with developing a promising point guard in Kyrie Irving. Even though the new “Big Three” helped the Cavs win the title in the 2015-16 season, issues did become apparent.
At some points, Love has not been all he was hyped up to be in Cleveland. On top of that, reports have come out that Irving has requested a trade from the franchise. While it appears as though the trio has started to collapse, James has also expressed his disappointment with the front office, as they have not given James enough depth to work with.
Besides the signing of Derrick Rose, the Cavs have not been able to bring in enough talent to consider themselves a title favorite. In fact, one of the few reasons that players are interested in coming to play in Cleveland is because of LeBron James.
At the end of the day, even though basketball is a sport, it is also a business. With the way that the ship is sinking in Cleveland, there is no question that James should leave the team after the upcoming season.
James wants to win titles, and with the direction this team is heading in, the window of winning is closing fast in Cleveland.
Photo Credit Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America
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