The doom cloud that looms heavy over this NBA season is what will happen with LeBron James in the summer of 2018. No one knows where he’s headed, perhaps including James himself. But the league and various teams have to prepare for any possibility given the uncertainty of it all.
If LeBron James wants to play for your team, you let him play for your basketball team. But for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they’re faced with a precarious situation that they’ve gone through before: How do you move on from LeBron James leaving your team? The last rebuild took some time, and was of course jumpstarted by James returning to the team once more.
But that’s unlikely to happen again, and the plan appears to be using the assets from the Kyrie Irving trade to start looking for what will essentially be James’ replacement in Cleveland. The primary asset, the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected pick in 2018, is a big part of that supposed rebuild if “LeBron stuff” goes south for the Cavs.
According to an unnamed general manager, the Sporting News reports that the Cleveland’s Plan B is to use Brooklyn’s pick, to rebuild. That doesn’t mean they won’t look to make moves right now, but it’s clear the Brooklyn pick isn’t a part of any in-season trade plans for the Cavs, as the GM says they’re not even discussing moving the pick.
“They would be open to a deal by all indications,” the GM said. “But they’re not talking about that pick. That’s the Plan B for the LeBron stuff and from what I know, they don’t want to budge on it.”
That part of the rebuild plan seems obvious, but who the Cavs actually take with that pick seems a bit less clear. There are a number of ways they could go if the Nets are among the worst teams in the league. With an absolutely loaded group of players at the top of the 2018 draft, this definitely isn’t the worst course of action for Cleveland’s front office.