You know things aren’t so hot with the Cleveland Cavaliers when people start wondering aloud whether LeBron James, a free agent this summer, would consider waiving his no-trade clause to finish the season elsewhere.
Seriously: This has become a topic of discussion—insofar as he’ll let it become a conversation.
Pressed about his no-trade clause following the Cavaliers’ latest letdown, which included blowing a 21-point lead against the Orlando Magic, James made it clear he’s not going anywhere right now, per ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin:
“I’m here for the long haul,” James said. “I’m here for this season right now, [to] try to figure out ways we can still compete. I couldn’t give up on my teammates like that. I couldn’t do that. I just couldn’t do it. We put too much into the game every single day. We go out and prepare. Win, lose or draw, at the end of the day, we’re all brothers, and we understand that. I owe it to my teammates to finish this season out no matter how it ends up. I would never waive my no-trade clause.”
So, this is something. We’re not quite sure what. But it’s definitely something.
As far as we can tell, James isn’t open to letting the Cavaliers capitalize on his potential departure this summer—something we know owner Dan Gilbert would love to do, given his reaction to the four-time MVP’s first exit. But James hardly provides a ringing endorsement for his long-term future in Cleveland. He talks about how he must “finish this season out now matter how it ends up,” which is both somehow innocuous and, if you’re a Cavaliers fan, absolutely terrifying.
The lesson here (likely) hasn’t changed: The Cavaliers are slumping. That matters. This feels worse than it has in years past, when they simply picked themselves back up in time for the playoffs. They need to make a move in advance of the Feb. 8 trade deadline.
At the same time, we must also remember emotions are running wild during brutal stretches like this. LeBron probably hasn’t decided what he’s going to do over the summer, in large part because, despite the Cavaliers’ recent implosion, he doesn’t actually know how this season is going to end up.