If we’re all being perfectly honest, LeBron James’ decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency this summer shouldn’t have come as that much of a surprise. After a costly Game 1 meltdown in the Finals, the Cavs were categorically outmatched the rest of the way, a reality that didn’t bode well for LeBron’s future in Cleveland.
Beyond that, the Cavs weren’t in any kind of a position to compete for a championship next year, what with the rise of the Sixers and Celtics in the East and a motley roster that proved too inexperienced and unreliable to build any sort of future around, at least one involving LeBron.
Still, losing LeBron is a tough pill to swallow for the people of Cleveland, not to mention his teammates, coaching staff, and folks all across the organization. It was particularly hard for head coach Tyronn Lue, who went on NBA TV Friday night during Summer League in Las Vegas while his squad took on the Washington Wizards.
“I didn’t expect it,” Lue said. “When I saw it, I was shocked and hurt a little bit by it. But like I said, we talked, and he said I’m his favorite guy. He loved being coached by me, the four seasons we had together, and this decision was solely just a decision for himself and his family, and I can live with that.”
It’s not exaggerating to say he and Lue had a special bond. LeBron was instrumental in Lue replacing David Blatt as head coach. Yet, the writing had been on the wall all season as the Cavs struggled with a roster that simply isn’t equipped for true championship contention moving forward.
Lue can now focus his attention on the promising young players on his roster like Cedi Osman, as well as the Cavs’ No. 8 pick this summer, Collin Sexton, as they once again face an uncertain future that no longer includes the greatest player on the planet.