LeBron James impending free agency will likely be the story that defines the Cleveland Cavaliers season. It will loom over every quote, game, winning streak, losing streak, and it will certainly loom over the NBA Finals, if the Cavaliers make a fourth consecutive appearance.
For now, LeBron certainly seems content to be in Cleveland, according to his good friend and new teammate Dwyane Wade, via Cleveland.com:
"I think he loves it here . . . I could see his mood and being around these guys and everyone that's here," Wade continued. "Obviously we've gotta win ball games, everything's gotta go right and we gotta stay together to continue to have that mood, but right now he's in a great place."
James was reportedly frustrated with the upheaval with the Cavaliers this summer, starting with the decision to not retain David Griffin as general manager and culminating in Kyrie Irving’s trade request. However, James denied those reports to Cleveland.com:
"I was never frustrated throughout the summer," James said. "I don't know where those reports came from. I was enjoying my summer with my family. So, I felt the organization was going to do what's best for the organization. That's their job, so, I wasn't bothered at all."
That certainly seems like a stretch, and James has a history of feigning ignorance or indifference about things he quite clearly cares about.
As of now though, James seems happy with the roster Koby Altman has put together. It’s a team heavy on name recognition, though some of those pieces are past their prime. That doesn’t mean they can’t still help, and James reportedly loved what he saw at his mini-camp in Santa Barbara, even if he’s been banged up for most of preseason.
From a distance, it feels like the Cavaliers will have a shot to convince LeBron to stick around for the long-term. Perhaps the hoops they’ll have to jump through to do so may be insurmountable, but it does seem that there’s a path. Only time will tell. We’re just going to have to wait this out.