Will No. 8 pick Collin Sexton be enough to keep LeBron James in Cleveland?
The Cavs are certainly hoping the point guard is one piece to the puzzle.
“I think the pick along with our youth and our momentum as a franchise, for LeBron and everybody,” Cavs general manager Koby Altman said. “I think there’s a real energy here, and I think the talent level of Collin, I’m almost sure LeBron recognizes.”
James has until June 29 to inform the Cavs whether or not he plans to opt in to the final year of his contract. If not, he will once again become a free agent.
As the postseason, and specifically the Finals wore on, James repeatedly referenced his desire to play with “cerebral” teammates on more than one occasion. As far as Altman is concerned, Sexton not only has the basketball IQ to play with James, but also has the ability to take some defensive pressure off James.
“I think he has a very good basketball IQ, but I also think LeBron what could have helped him as well was just another playmaker, another guy to put pressure on the defense,” Altman said. “Collin’s explosive, he can get into the paint, he can make stuff happen, he’s fast in transition, and I think ball-handling wise he can take the load off LeBron a little bit and again, aside from the basketball IQ, which I think he’s very good in pick and roll, but I think just having another playmaker is a big deal for our team.”
Naturally, Sexton was also asked about the possibility of playing with James.
“It means a whole lot just because he’s one of the best players to ever play basketball,” Sexton said. “Just being able to come in and learn from him, it’ll be big for me and big for my growth.”
Altman said he continues to have “good dialogue” with James’ management team. But for now, James decision is certainly still very much up in the air and will remain that way until it’s actually made.
But when Altman began his media availability on Thursday night, referencing his gratitude for James were some of his opening comments.
“LeBron James played 82 games this season,” Altman said. “He played every game into the postseason. It was remarkable, historical. He gave his heart and soul, die-hard energy, commitment, to this team, to this franchise, to this city, to Northeast Ohio. Like I said, it was a historical year and probably one of the best postseason runs of all time. We’re very, very fortunate to have him here. And what he gave to this franchise this year was nothing short of remarkable, like I said, and we don’t take that for granted at all.
“I’m sure that there’ll be a lot of questions about his status, and I wont be able to say much more than the comments I made now, other than we continue to have good dialogue with his management team. I think LeBron has more than earn the right to approach his contracts the way he does. He’s done that before, so this is nothing new for us. We want to respect his space during this process, and I continue to have really good dialogue with his management team as he goes through that process. I know there’ll be a lot of questions about it but that’s all I can say at this point regarding him. But again, we don’t take him for granted, we love him, this city loves him, he means the world to us and this franchise.”