The Cleveland Cavaliers are LeBron James‘ team. Sure, the Cavs have a head coach and front office personnel and what not, but at the end of the day, all that matters is what the best basketball player in the world says. And while it’s good that James is so invested in the franchise, this arrangement could have some serious negatives.
For example, James is a well-connected superstar, as evidenced by the fact that he’s the vice president of the NBA Players Association. He is known for helping the team pursue talent with the hopes of bringing championships to Cleveland. Well, he’s usually known for this, but not during the 2017 free agency period.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, LeBron isn’t working to recruiting anyone right now, which is a departure from the way he usually operates this time of year.
While the NBA’s free-agency frenzy kicked off Friday night, signaling the official start of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ mission to return to a championship level, the team’s biggest star is remaining hands-off as he watches the action unfold.
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’ approach is a departure from his conduct in the past. He has actively pitched players on coming to play in Cleveland, including his pivotal poolside meeting with Kevin Love in Los Angeles in the summer of 2015 that led to Love re-signing and his calls to veterans such as Mike Miller and James Jones that were instrumental in those players wanting to join the Cavs at a discount.
McMenamin notes that this is all happening at a dangerous time for the organization. Rumors have swirled that LeBron could potentially leave the Cavs next offseason, with Los Angeles mentioned as a potential destination. Oh, and the Cavaliers still don’t have a general manager right now, as the team parted ways with David Griffin earlier this offseason in a move that surprised (and seemed to upset) their best player.
It’s very possible that LeBron just wants to take some time to recharge after losing in the Finals, even if this is a super important time of year and his influence around the league would help Cleveland’s pursuit of players to fill out its roster a ton. But if you’re looking at everything that has happened this offseason, this probably isn’t an encouraging sign for the Cavs. Anything can change and LeBron can decide to go back into recruiting mode tomorrow, but for now, the best player in the world is apparently putting the future of his franchise in someone else’s hands.