LeBron James is not a fan of Donald Trump and that fact may come into play when the NBA superstar decides where to play after this season. According to sportswriter Chris Sheridan of NJ.com, James will leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time because of political differences with team owner Dan Gilbert.
Sheridan has long believed that LeBron will not be playing for the Cavaliers after this season. He came to this conclusion after an unnamed source informed him that James is “100 percent leaving” and that the relationship between LeBron and Gilbert is “beyond repair.” Sheridan shared what his source told him in a tweet posted on August 16 last year.
“When the information was given to me, my source said: ‘The entire NBA knows it. The only people who don’t are the media,'” Sheridan said.
“The No. 1 reason why this is going to happen is because Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is a huge Trump supporter; LeBron is not.”
James has been a vocal critic of Trump. Gilbert, meanwhile, is a known Trump supporter. While there have been rumored differences between the two, Gilbert’s love for the president may be the turning point for James and the Cleveland franchise.
oh my god, this report says LeBron is going to leave the Cavs because Dan Gilbert supports Trump:https://t.co/YohsbVCBUm
— Dylan Scott (@dylanlscott) April 5, 2018
James called Trump a “bum” in a tweet last year as he defended fellow NBA superstar Stephen Curry. Trump withdrew his invitation to Curry to visit the White House after the sharpshooting guard said he wasn’t going.
LeBron was also told to “shut up and dribble” by Fox News host Laura Ingraham after James and Kevin Durant appeared in a video sharing their opinions on Trump, NPR reported.
In the video, James described Trump as a person who “doesn’t understand the people.”
Gilbert, meanwhile, donated $750,000 to Trump’s inauguration fund. The billionaire owner of Quicken Loans was even seen at the White House with Trump last year. Gilbert also appeared with Ivanka Trump at an event last year.
When Trump started attacking professional teams and athletes over the national anthem controversy, Gilbert tried to distance himself from Trump, especially since his best player is a staunch critic of the president, according to Cleveland.com.
Apparently, no amount of effort on Gilbert’s part will sway James to stay in Cleveland. Aside from their political differences, James is said to be unhappy with some of the moves Gilbert made or allowed to happen including the loss of former general manager David Griffin and the trading of All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. It didn’t help that the player Cleveland got in exchange for Irving – Isaiah Thomas – didn’t fit well with the team.
A number of NBA teams are bracing for the LeBron sweepstakes. The Cavaliers are still rumored to be a frontrunner to sign James, though the up-and-coming Philadelphia 76ers have also become a favorite to nab LeBron.
The Los Angeles Lakers remain among the teams with a good chance of adding the four-time MVP thanks to their cap space and the lure of playing for the purple and gold. Other teams mentioned to be among the possible suitors for James include the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs.