Since returning to the Cleveland, LeBron James has been active in recruiting players to join him on the Cleveland Cavaliers. He helped recruit Kevin Love the summer of his return. Players like Mike Miller and James Jones came to Cleveland largely due to LeBron. This past year, Deron Williams was drawn to Cleveland because of LeBron. Although he is not the Cavs’ real general manager as many have joked, he has certainly helped Cleveland land players, and often at a discount.
This summer, however, James isn’t getting involved. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, James will not actively help recruit free agents to the Cavs. From McMenamin’s story:
LeBron James is not actively recruiting on behalf of the Cavs as the franchise zeroes in on its top free-agent targets, a league source told ESPN on Saturday.
James is spending the weekend in Alabama attending the wedding of Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe. James and Bledsoe share an agent in Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Paul is also attending the wedding, as are Bledsoe's fellow Kentucky Wildcat alumni John Wall of the Wizards, who also is a Klutch client, and DeMarcus Cousins of the Pelicans, among others.
James’ decision not to recruit comes during a pivotal summer for the Cavs. After losing to the Warriors in five games, Cleveland is trying to retool. And because they’ve struck out on both Paul George and Jimmy Butler, the way they have to improve is through free agency. James could help in some capacity were he helping recruit.
It also comes after the Cavs elected to not re-sign GM David Griffin — the architect of the second LeBron-era Cavs — to a new deal. James publicly said Griffin deserved an extension and was not directly consulted about the Cavs’ decision to move in a different direction. Considering his past issues with owner Dan Gilbert, it seems obvious that James is trying to send a message here. And remember: he can be a free agent after next season.
Gilbert, along with quasi interim GM Koby Altman, is dealing with teams directly during free agency, per McMenamin.
Perhaps James will be more active after the wedding. But it’s clear that James isn’t particularly happy with the Cavs right now. That’s never a good thing.