After another outstanding performance from LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Indiana Pacers, 105-101, in Game 7 on Sunday night at Quicken Loans Arena. James finished with 45 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and four steals on 64 percent shooting from the field and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc. With the victory, the Cavaliers will be advancing to the second round to face the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed, the Toronto Raptors.
If the Cavaliers continue to dominate the East and succeed to return to the NBA Finals, some people believe LeBron James will return to Cleveland for another season. However, according to ESPN, the Game 7 win against the Pacers only extended James’ stint in Cleveland for at least one round.
“By staving off elimination, James extended his career in Cleveland for at least another round. Many league insiders believe he will opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cavs and consider joining another franchise as an unrestricted free agent this summer.”
LeBron James is expected to be the most coveted superstar in the upcoming free agency, and there is a growing belief that he’s going to leave the Cavaliers for the second time to chase for another championship title somewhere else. Cleveland, as currently constructed, is no longer a team suitable for an aging superstar like James.
LeBron James spent the past playoffs playing alongside two other superstars who gave him the much-needed help on both ends of the floor. However, things started to be different for James after Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics before the start of the season. Though the Cavaliers still have another superstar to support James, Kevin Love is yet to unleash the “Minnesota Love” and play as Cleveland’s second option on the offensive ends of the floor.
At 33, James shows no sign of slowing down, but their playoff series against the Pacers prove that he is also a human. The Cavaliers superstar admitted he’s “burnt” after playing 43 minutes in Game 7. It was revealed that James was suffering from a minor injury that forced him to check out in the final minute of the third quarter to head to the locker room for treatment.
As of now, LeBron James plans to give his body a rest before thinking of their battle plan against the Toronto Raptors. The 2018 free agency might still be far, but it’s interesting to see how the Cavaliers’ performance in the NBA Playoffs will affect James’ decision in the upcoming offseason. If Cleveland won’t make a huge roster upgrade, James should think it’s time for him to head somewhere else.