The latest tidbit reported about the Cleveland Cavaliers is that they are planning for the 2018-19 season as if LeBron James is not going to stay in Cleveland.
Another narrative from the national basketball media, who believes it is a foregone conclusion that James will be playing for the Los Angeles Lakers after next season.
Why not? After all, James wished Magic Johnson a Happy Birthday the other day, and his production company is planning a new television show.
Our guess is it is not the first time James has given Johnson a birthday shout out and his production company has several shows on the air, and yet James isn’t playing for the Lakers, or the Clippers for that matter.
We have said it before, we have no idea what James will do following the upcoming season, and neither does anyone reporting on it.
As for the Cavs, whether or not they believe James will be coming back in 2018-19, they should take steps toward getting younger.
They should learn from the past.
After losing in the 2013-14 Finals, four games to one to San Antonio, James left for a return to the Cavaliers reportedly because the Heat roster had peaked and had considerable age on it.
There were nine players with 10 or more years of experience in the NBA and there were nine players (not the same guys) over 30 years old. James himself would not turn 30 until later that calendar year.
The Cavalier roster that ended this season with a four games to one loss to Golden State also had nine players with over ten years experience. There eight players over 30 years old.
James Jones has retired, Deron Williams will not return, and we don’t know about Dahntay Jones, so probably three of those players will not be back, but new GM Koby Altman inked Jeff Green to a deal, and he will be 31 years old this season, and Jose Calderon is well over 30 too.
So, if the Cavs move Kyrie Irving, and we believe they will, why wouldn’t they want to get young players in return. They should get a quality veteran to match up the salaries, but also a very good player still on his rookie contract.
As for those who say the Cavaliers have to “go for it” because this might be James’ last season in a Cavs uniform, any team with LeBron James on it is the favorite in the Eastern Conference, and a younger, more athletic team might be the best kind of team to defeat Golden State if that matchup occurs for a fourth straight year.
Either way, it makes sense to get younger.
If James leaves, you are set up well for the future along with whatever point guard you receive in a deal for Irving, Love, Tristan Thompson, and the other piece in the deal.
If he stays, it will be because he sees a team with the capability to make several more runs at a title. He didn’t see that after the 2013 season with the Heat.
Getting another young stud to grow with the Cavs is simply the correct thing to do from a basketball standpoint, no matter what decision James makes.
LeBron James is a pragmatist. He is going to do what is best for himself and his legacy. He feels the need to win more titles to be the best player ever.
We don’t think he’s made any decision at this point. What the Cavs’ front office and the team does between now and next June will help form whatever option he chooses.