BOSTON (CBS) — The Cavaliers’ recent moves could suggest that the team knows LeBron James is leaving after next season. But could they mean that there’s a chance LeBron will stay in Cleveland?
That’s what Andy Baskin suggested when he joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday. Baskin, who hosts 92.3 The Fan’s Baskin & Phelps in Cleveland, has followed the Cavs’ seemingly tumultuous situation closely in recent months.
Despite the popular belief that the Cavs may be on the verge of being dismantled in a year, Baskin believes that new Cavs GM Koby Altman is making moves that could actually improve their chances of keeping LeBron long-term. The Cavs’ trade of Kyrie Irving for a package including Isaiah Thomas and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick sets up the Cavs well for both the present and the future, which could entice LeBron to sign one more big contract with the team that drafted him.
“Could he leave? For me it’s still 50-50,” said Baskin, “And people will tell you that this trade has solidified the fact that LeBron is going to stay, because once again Dan Gilbert has said, ‘I’m going to do whatever it takes to make LeBron James happy’ – which is a good thing or a bad thing. Last time it happened, he got caught with his pants down. LeBron left, and the Cavaliers were nothing until they drafted Kyrie.
“So now you’ve got a draft pick in case LeBron leaves, or you’ve got this unbelievably great tool to try to go out and get a high-quality, maybe a superstar player with that draft pick.”
It has been widely rumored in recent months that LeBron will bolt from the Cavs for the Lakers after the 2017-18 season, which could be why Irving wanted out of Cleveland before that could happen. But if the Cavs can have success with Isaiah backing up LeBron and end up with a top draft pick from Brooklyn’s selection that they acquired from the Celtics, that could at least make LeBron’s decision harder.
Listen to the full podcast with Andy Baskin above!