LeBron James is still the best basketball player in the world heading into his 15th season in the NBA. His name has been synonymous to the Cleveland Cavaliers, especially after bringing the first championship in the franchise’s history and the city’s first sports title in 52 years. However, the latest rumors suggest that James is 100 percent leaving the Cavaliers and he is playing his final season in Cleveland.
The Cavaliers are just coming off a third-straight NBA Finals appearance, but they suffered a 4-1 defeat to the Golden State Warriors. LeBron James might have played his best Finals performance, but it was not enough to beat a team consisting of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
And to make matters worse for the Cavaliers and James, their offseason has been terrible. Cleveland overpaid to keep Kyle Korver and they fired general manager David Griffin. The rumors of LeBron being unhappy with management surfaced and it was followed by a trade request by Kyrie Irving. The Cavaliers are still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, but they are vulnerable now more than ever.
According to George Richards of the Miami Herald, LeBron James is particularly unhappy with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. He added that James is looking to leave Cleveland when he opts out of his contract at the end of the season. The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat are two of the favorite landing spots for James if he chooses to leave Cleveland.
One veteran NBA Insider went as far as confirming that LeBron James is 100 percent leaving Cleveland for the second time in his career and he is playing in his final season with the Cavaliers. Chris Sheridan reported that the relationship between James and Gilbert are beyond repair, which is the main factor in the decision of “The King” about his future.
NBA source said today: "This will be LeBron's final season in Cleveland. He is 100 percent leaving. Relationship with owners beyond repair."
— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) August 16, 2017
However, other NBA insiders quickly opposed the report by Sheridan, per Maxim. Sam Amico of Amico Hoops, Chris Broussard of ESPN and Joe Vardon of cleveland.com all noted sources close to LeBron James that the three-time NBA champion has not decided on his future and he is going to make his decision at the end of the season.
Despite different reports, Brent Axe of syracuse.com noted that Chris Sheridan was one of the first to report that LeBron James was leaving the Cavaliers and wanted to sign with the Heat in 2010. Sheridan is also one of the first reporters to break the news that James was coming back to Cleveland in 2014.
Nevertheless, these are still just rumors at the moment and take it with a grain of salt. LeBron James can opt out of his contract at the end of the season and sign with any team in free agency. James wants to come back to the NBA Finals for the eight-straight year, but it would be hard to do if he is not seeing eye-to-eye with ownership and Kyrie Irving does not want to be in Cleveland anymore.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]