Essentially, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ one-man NBA Finals ticket, LeBron James, is concerned by the happenings with his employer this offseason. Particularly, James is frustrated by the new-look front office’s efforts to add pieces capable of helping the Cavs close the gap on the Golden State Warriors, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports.
James’ history of acrimony with owner Dan Gilbert is well-documented, but developments this offseason may have added chapters to it. The league’s premier player throughout the decade again being a free agent after this season, speculation about another Cleveland defection figures to heat up if James doesn’t diffuse it.
Zillgitt reports that on the day Gilbert decided to go on without general manager David Griffin and vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden, the Cavaliers were close to executing a trade for then-Chicago Bulls wing Jimmy Butler. Now operating under the leadership of 34-year-old executive Koby Altmann, who was Griffin’s assistant GM, the Cavs watched the Bulls trade Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Another potential Cavs target, Paul George, was then traded from the Indiana Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Zillgitt reports Gilbert is continuing to evaluate the structure of the Cavs’ front office and remains in search of GM candidates. His interview with Chauncey Billups reportedly preceded a lowball offer, leading to the ESPN analyst turning the Cavs down. The makeshift front office’s work in the meantime has pleased Gilbert, per Zillgitt, but James may not share that opinion.
The Cavs added point guard Jose Calderon and forward Jeff Green on league-minimum deals and used part of their mid-level exception on Turkish stash Cedi Osman. While the Cavaliers didn’t have a lot of options considering the financial commitments Gilbert made in past offseasons to retain this core, the Warriors kept theirs and added pieces that may make the reigning champions even better.
James already voiced his support for Griffin via Twitter on the day it was revealed the exec was done in Cleveland, and the situation may be escalating to the point the 32-year-old all-time great is a legitimate threat to depart again.