The NBA rumors came to a head on Tuesday when the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a mega trade, sending Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, and now there are rumblings that the Cavs may be making an even bigger move — convincing LeBron James to stay in Cleveland after next season.
For months, there have been rumors that LeBron plans to leave Cleveland after the 2017-18 season and could be headed to Los Angeles (with both the Clippers and Lakers mentioned as potential destinations). It’s widely reported that his inevitable departure was a major factor behind Kyrie Irving’s trade demand, which came to fruition this week when the Cavs dealt him to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Boston’s 2018 unprotected first-round draft pick.
As Sports Illustrated noted, Cleveland’s new general manager, Koby Altman, has managed in the trade to keep Cleveland as the top contender in the Eastern Conference while also building toward the future. The report noted that Cleveland has now set up a “best-case scenario” where the team is able to win the title in 2018, continue building with the young assets and draft picks acquired in the Irving trade, and convince LeBron James that his best chance at getting another ring remains in Cleveland.
There are some other positive factors from the trade. As SB Nation noted, Jae Crowder appears to be a great fit beside LeBron as well, the kind of role player he has flourished beside in both Cleveland and Miami.
There are other rumors floating around that the Cavaliers may be making plans to acquire DeMarcus Cousins and Dwyane Wade, which would make the Cavaliers an even more formidable foe to their nemesis, the Golden State Warriors. If those NBA rumors were to come true, it would seemingly pave the way for LeBron to remain in Cleveland for the long haul.
Whatever happens, it’s likely that the NBA rumors will not be answered until after the 2018 NBA Finals are over. If the Cavaliers fail to win it all, it could hasten LeBron’s exit for greener pastures. But if they were to best the Golden State Warriors — who, barring something very unexpected, are seen as big favorites to return to the Finals — it could help convince James to stay and possibly finish his career in Cleveland.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]