le In an exclusive that was published by the Athletic on Monday, November 19, LeBron James recounted the afternoon that the Cleveland Cavaliers dealt Kyrie Irving to Boston. In the process of recollecting the sequence of events that unfolded on that August afternoon, he divulged that his word on the proposal was basically betrayed. In hindsight, most would possibly agree that the writing was on the wall concerning the future of the Cavaliers, but it appears that LeBron knew on that very day.
“Everyone knows that when Kyrie got traded it was the beginning of the end for everything. It’s not a secret,” James recalled to NBA senior writer Joe Vardon, as quoted by Bleacher Report.
By the end of the interview, it seemed that James was comfortable with the decision he made to pack his bags for Los Angeles. With his return to Quicken Loans Arena set for the middle of the week, the Akron-raised basketball great insisted that he was, at that point, indifferent to whatever reception he may receive once his name is announced.
“It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, they have one obligation and that’s to cheer for their team. And I’m not on the team,” he told Vardon.
Despite James’ comments, one is left to wonder if things might have been different, had the moves Cavs owner Dan Gilbert made been less disconcerting in the weeks that led up to the split from Irving.
"Everyone knows that when Kyrie got traded it was the beginning of the end for everything." https://t.co/rVZamdtZnu— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 19, 2018
Fans will recall Gilbert separating from former general manager David Griffin just two months prior to him shipping Irving off. Yahoo Finance pointed out how Gilbert failed to first consult LeBron about his choice to part ways with Griffin, even if it was known that the four-time MVP favored the exec.
As analysts have long contended, LeBron’s reputation in the sport extends beyond the court. For years, it had been understood that with his floor generalship will also come the degree of influence that a player like him demands to have over his organization’s plans. Thus, given the foreknowledge of how he was never invited to the table in regards to the decision concerning Griffin’s departure, the details on what say he was allowed to have concerning Irving’s fate are telling.
According to LeBron, he received a visit from then-Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue while vacationing in California. Lue had reportedly gotten word of the talks involving a potential Irving trade and rushed over to put his star player on the phone with new GM Koby Altman. LeBron was reportedly “adamant” in forbidding the deal, and Vardon cited four separate sources who say they can attest to Altman promising that the trade would not go through. However, LeBron’s friend Randy Mims and bodyguard Rob Brown approached him with their phones minutes later, showing reports of the deal pushing forward after all.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers (9-7) will head out to Cleveland to take on the Cavs, who have a league-worst 2-12 win-loss record. The Cavaliers fandom are likely not as content with LeBron’s decision to abandon ship as he is, but how they welcome him back will say it all about whether or not they blame him for the franchise falling apart this time around.