It was just a few short weeks ago that the Cleveland Cavaliers were in a tremendous spot to capture their second consecutive NBA title. They had run roughshod through the Eastern Conference Playoffs, directly into a third consecutive Finals matchup against the Golden State Warriors.
Following a five-game series loss to Golden State, all bets seem to be off for the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions.
And while the Cavaliers have continued to make a push for both Jimmy Butler and Paul George, it appears that the former is not interested in heading to Cleveland (more on that here).
We now have a bit more pretext as to why Butler would rather remain with a fledgling Bulls organization than head to Cleveland. According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Cavaliers players are telling Butler to avoid what has become an increasingly volatile situation.
“According to a Cleveland source close to the situation, several of the Cavaliers who had been prodding Butler to push for a trade from the Bulls the last five days were now warning him to stay away from a suddenly volatile situation,” Cowley reported.
Most of this likely has to do with owner Dan Gilbert, who continues to make the news for all the wrong reasons. He moved on from Griffin after the GM oversaw a team that earned three consecutive trips to the Finals. He did so without talking to James about the situation.
Meanwhile, James himself is set to become a free agent following the 2017-18 season and could depart Cleveland for Southern California.
In any event, Cleveland knows it needs to upgrade the team’s roster to compete with Golden State next season. Unfortunately, the offseason has not started out too well. That includes Jimmy Butler likely falling through the cracks.