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Report: LeBron James Not Actively Recruiting Free Agents to Play for Cavs
- Updated: July 2, 2017
In what could be seen as an ominous sign regarding the 2018 NBA offseason, one report indicates that Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is not making any concerted effort to recruit players to the team for the 2017-18 season. That could be an early indication that he’ll opt out of his contract a year from now and leave the franchise again.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports that James is in Alabama over the weekend attending the wedding of Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, offering this comparison to the past three offseasons for the Cavaliers:
“James’ approach is a departure from his conduct in the past. He has actively pitched players on coming to play in Cleveland, including his pivotal poolside meeting with Kevin Love in Los Angeles in the summer of 2015 that led to Love re-signing and his calls to veterans such as Mike Miller and James Jones that were instrumental in those players wanting to join the Cavs at a discount.”
The Cavs front office is currently operating without a general manager, following the departure of David Griffin. Team owner Dan Gilbert has offered the position to Chauncey Billups, who has taken more than a week to decide on whether or not he will accept the job. McMenamin reports that Billups will be competing in the new Big 3 league on Sunday, which may indicate that Billups will reject the offer, thereby leaving the position open. Presently, assistant general manager Koby Altman is handling Griffin’s duties.
In the months leading up to Griffin’s departure, James was vocal in offering his support of a new contract for the former general manager. Once the decision was made to not sign Griffin to a new deal, James again tweeted out his support and offered a not-so-suble jab at Gilbert, who he’s had a tenuous relationship with for years.
A possibility exists that James could be doing behind-the-scenes recruiting in connection with the Cavaliers’ reported interest in Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph. However, given his presumed annoyance with the Cavaliers’ front office situation and his free agency next year, the rumor mill will continue to flourish in the months ahead regarding his status with the team past this coming season.