Chris Sheridan reported that a source close to LeBron James said that he was “100 percent” sure he will Cleveland when he becomes a free agent next year. The rumors of Kyrie Irving leaving the team haven’t slowed down either.
Rapper Lil Dicky reacted to the report on Twitter by saying that the Cavaliers should trade him now while they can get something back for him. NBA superstar Kevin Durant responded that the team shouldn’t because James means so much to the franchise and the city of Cleveland. The conversation mirrored what a lot of NBA fans were battling in their heads.
What if James and Irving actually get traded this season, though?
The era of the Cavaliers being in contention for a title would be over and the team would find itself back in the middle of the pack of the NBA like so many other teams. In 2003, Cleveland landed a once-in-a-generation talent in James. The only year he didn’t make the playoffs was his rookie year when the Cavaliers missed by a game to the Boston Celtics. James built his team up from a regular playoff squad to Eastern Conference championship contender every year from 2007-2010. Then in the four years that James was gone, Cleveland became one of the worst teams in the league again, even after landing three consecutive No. 1 picks. The most recent part of the story should only serve as a refresher, three more trips to the finals and an epic comeback to win it all for the city in 2016. Now, it appears this 14-year swing of the highest highs and lowest lows is only going to result in more lows for the franchise.
Cleveland has always had a fairly mediocre team since its inception in 1970. The golden years, before James, were probably in the early 1990s with Brad Daugherty and Mark Price when the team lost in back-to-back years to the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. After a decade of being in the spotlight and ascending all the way to perennial championship contenders, Cleveland is on the verge of just being, once again, Cleveland.