If Tyronn Lue’s body language and current Las Vegas odds are any indication, LeBron James has played his final game as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
An end result that most Cavs fans seemingly expected during Game 4 of the Finals earlier this month could soon come to a head. James will hit free agency once it opens within a week, and there’s every reason to believe he’ll look at other opportunities outside of Cleveland.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, this is an eventuality the Cavaliers’ brass has been planning for over the past year — dating back to the trade of Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics.
"From the Kyrie trade forward, a lot of the (Cavs) moves have been toward a post-LeBron future." – Windy
— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) June 26, 2018
This report certainly makes some sense. James himself wasn’t part of the Cavaliers’ decision-making process during a very active trade deadline. That included bringing in two potential long-term fixtures in that of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. Remember, James wanted the Cavaliers to trade for DeAndre Jordan during the deadline.
It’s also important to note that Cleveland added a lottery pick in the Irving trade. It’s a pick the team used on point guard Collin Sexton last week. According to the team’s front office, there’s no intention to trade Sexton for a proven veteran.
All of this lines up with the thinking that Cleveland has been preparing for James’ eventual departure over the course of the past calendar year. Whether that comes to fruition once free agency starts remains to be seen.