LeBron James went to “Superman” mode just two games into this year’s playoffs, scoring 46 points, hauling down 12 rebounds, and dishing out five assists in Game 2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first-round series with the Indiana Pacers. His performance evened the series at 1-1 and had drawn plenty of praises from basketball analysts and fans alike. However, some pundits are troubled about what it actually means for the Cavaliers moving forward.
Case in point was Fox Sports host Colin Cowherd, who is known as an avid LeBron supporter. Cowherd said in a recent episode of The Herd that the Cavs are in trouble because James already “had to go superhuman” just to avoid going down into a 0-2 hole in the first-round of the playoffs against a team many thought would fade away into oblivion after they traded away Paul George last summer.
Cowherd also said that “the NBA is no longer beholden” to James and the four-time MVP is “no longer the meal ticket to win you a title.” He even predicted that the Cavaliers are not getting out of the first round and Cleveland would have been the 11th-best team if they had played in the Western Conference.
Cowherd went on to claim that a source told him “last night” that the reason LeBron does not want to commit his future with the Cavs was “he [James] knows this [current Cavaliers] roster is junk.”
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, James’ current supporting cast needs to contribute more during games or “face a dubious distinction of being the weakest” in the three-time NBA champion’s 13-year postseason career.
In the first two games of the playoffs, LeBron had already scored 70 points while fellow All-Star Kevin Love, who recently injured his thumb, has been the team’s next best scorer with only 24 points. Game 2 of the Indiana series saw Cleveland’s bench only scoring a combined 16 points out of 100, with James registering 46 of them.
Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters after the game that he needs “to see more out of a lot of guys,” presumably referring to the team’s trade deadline acquisitions, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr., who produced five, two, and two points respectively in Game 2.
A possible early exit by the Cavs in this year’s playoffs may lead to LeBron leaving Cleveland once again in the coming offseason. The Akron, Ohio, native has a player option at the end of the season, so he could choose to enter unrestricted free agency and join another squad this summer.
James is currently linked to a number of teams as his potential landing spot in free agency, including the Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Lakers.