With the surprising news of perennial All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving wanting the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him, the focus over the last few days has been the mindset of superstar LeBron James and whether he’ll want out of Cleveland as well.
At this point, LeBron’s days in Cleveland appear to be numbered with the consensus being he’ll leave the Cavs after next season in NBA free agency. The fact that Irving wants out now makes some wonder whether James could force his way out as well, but that doesn’t appear to be the case as the face of the Cleveland franchise wants to ride things out, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN:
No matter the reconstruction of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ roster, no matter the potential for heightened inner turmoil, no matter the win-loss record, and with or without Kyrie Irving, LeBron James will not waive his no-trade clause for any teams at any point during the 2017-18 season, league sources tell ESPN.
Obviously, with a no-trade clause, LeBron has all the leverage in Cleveland. Much like Carmelo Anthony with the New York Knicks, James can dictate his immediate future and veto any trade the Cavs brass want to make between now and July 1 of next summer when he can become an unrestricted free agent.
The Los Angeles Lakers have seemingly emerged as the favorites to land LeBron if he opts out of his deal and leaves the Cavs. Of course, a lot can happen between now and when the times comes to make his decision, but as of right now, James won’t be leaving Cleveland for Los Angeles or any other destination in a trade.
Despite LeBron’s stance about not waiving his no-trade clause, there’s a chance he may have a change of heart once the NBA trade deadline rolls around in February of next year. There’s no telling how the Irving situation pans out or if the Cavs will be the same championship-caliber team in the Eastern Conference if or when a trade goes down to send Kyrie elsewhere.
Although the Cavs are still currently the team to beat in the East, that may very well change in the coming months depending on what the seemingly dysfunctional front office in Cleveland decides to do moving forward.
As for the Lakers, the team can simply continue to stay the course with their young core and hope things end up in their favor in terms of being able to lure LeBron and potentially another superstar like Paul George next summer in free agency.