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NBA Free Agency: What Should Cavs Do When LeBron Leaves James?



NBA-free agency is on the horizon and LeBron James has reportedly informed cavaliers of his decision to abandon his player option for next season. With the Lakers the presumed favorite, the open-floor crew takes a look at some options that Cleveland should consider when James leaves.

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(19659002) T The following transcript has been edited and summarized for clarity. )


Andrew Sharp: One thing I want to talk about is the original Woj report based on the idea that LeBron will not go to LA without the commitment of Paul George or Kawhi Leonard, before he agrees. I do not necessarily think that's true. I think the charm of the Lakers this summer for him is that they have rich fortune and that they will have the opportunity to build a team around him with stars he picks; We do not know if this is Paul George or Kawhi this week, but LeBron can easily go there and three weeks later they act for Kawhi.

Actually, it's pretty similar to moving to Cleveland in 201

4; where the outlines of a good team are and LeBron will take a leap of faith. I think LeBron probably trusts Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka more than the one in Cleveland's front office, and that could be the deciding factor.

Ben Golliver: If he goes to LA and Paul George is not in tow, then I want my money back in this three-part ESPN series about Paul Georges free agency decision.

Sharp: (laughs)

Golliver: If you need three parts of a video to sign with Oklahoma City: give me a break. We are not the biggest playoff P fans in the world.

Sharp: We really are not. He does not help himself. (Laughs)

Golliver: If he needs 18 minutes behind the scenes to go back and play with Russell Westbrook, then give me a break. Can I say a point about LeBron's decision? I'm not sure if everyone else did it. It might be consistent with what you have just said, when it goes to the Lakers, they are able to go forward. If you look at all the teams in the LeBron James Derby, most of them will be fine if they do not land LeBron.

It can even be argued that even if the Lakers compete against these big stars, because of this young core, they will enter positive dynamics at least next season. It would be embarrassing if they did not get any of these three guys right now, no doubt, but they would not be devastated.

The only exception here is Cleveland. When LeBron leaves Cleveland, I do not think we've had enough time to discuss how horrible and extremely decimated they will be and how quickly they can position themselves to be the worst team in the league. So keep that in mind: LeBron goes and they get no return for him, all they have to do is bring Kevin Love into a trading scenario, maybe to Oklahoma City.

  2018 NBA Finals - Game Three

Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

Let's say Paul George goes to LA and LeBron goes to LA and they could exchange Kevin Love for Oklahoma City and have him pair with Russell Westbrook and get simple contracts and all the designs you could get at this point. Your best group is George Hill, Collin Sexton, JR Smith, Tristan Thompson. You are already a 22-win team at this point, and you can have some auction and move Thompson to a contender who needs a versatile big one. Maybe you can try to sell Kyle Korver. You can come to a point if you are Cleveland with two phone calls; You can become a 15-win team next year very easily.

When LeBron left for the first time, they left a 19-win team after the first year, letting them get the lottery that Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson got. This strategy has worked for them in the past and not to mention being cheap and selling as many contracts as possible, Dan Gilbert would definitely like it because he had those massive luxury tax bills he has financed over the last four finals [19659002] The kickback potential when LeBron leaves James Cleveland is enormous, but I think it could be a very clean teardown if you're a Cavs fan. I think if you're a Cavs fan, you should definitely do that. Boom or bust. Boom if LeBron stays, but broke if he leaves. Trade Kevin Love in 24 hours and you are ready to trade and you are the worst team in the league and you will try to catch them all in 2020 as soon as you have some more lottery picks.

Sharp: I'm not a Cavs fan so I do not want to speak for them, but I have to imagine that after the last four years of the weekly melodrama, it would be kind of a relief and a screw like Break it all down and win 15 games and gun for RJ Barrett at the top of the draft. That's not the worst thing in the world. The Cavs fans I've interacted with for the last month or two seem pretty good at all of this and I'm happy for them. They are the most emotionally balanced fanbase of anyone in the mix in the coming weeks.

Golliver: What I would do if I were a Cavs fan, if all this is so your worst-case scenario here, I would spend the whole season next to the 2016 NBA Finals to see again and again. And I was just persuading myself in Collin Sexton to be the biggest player.

Sharp: The 2016 NBA Finals were so cool that if I experienced that as a fan, I could live on it for 20 years without worrying about anything else. That's one of the reasons why they are strangely over-ripe, because that was so cool, nothing else.

Golliver: So you are expelling time when you are. It's going to be ugly. 15 wins will not be fun. Maybe you have visions of Byron Scott, who like to flash through your memory bank, it could happen. But you'll come out in a better place if you just break everything this summer. This is my plan for Cleveland when LeBron leaves.


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