The Cleveland Cavaliers face an uphill battle in trying to retain the greatest player in franchise history.
All signs point to LeBron James opting out of his current contract with the Cavaliers in order to become a free agent this summer. While James re-signing with Cleveland certainly is a possibility, there’s no doubt a bevy of other teams will be vying for the star forward’s services as well.
At present, the Cavs don’t have much to offer James. Despite reaching the NBA Finals, it’s tough to label the current roster as championship-caliber, and Cleveland’s lack of salary cap flexibility nixes the idea of signing a marquee free agent. In order to make stark changes, the Cavaliers likely will have to make a trade. And considering Kevin Love is Cleveland’s best player outside of James, the veteran big man could be the team’s saving grace.
“They missed chances to trade their best non-LeBron player, Kevin Love, at something close to peak value, and will have hard time flipping him for even 50 percent of that now,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes. “Expect the Cavs to explore what they might get for a package of Love and the No. 8 pick around the draft in a last-ditch attempt to convince LeBron to stay.”
The Cavs making calls about this particular deal wouldn’t be shocking, as it’s just about the best they have to offer at this point. But even if a team takes the bait and sends a high-level player back to Cleveland, it still might not be enough for James to choose his hometown squad over a more attractive destination.