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Report: LeBron and Cavs Have Had ‘Good Dialogue’ Leading Up to Free Agency
- Updated: June 22, 2018
Trying to figure out the free-agency intentions of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has been something that’s partly focused on his relationship with the team’s front office. Despite his apparently shaky relationship with team owner Dan Gilbert, James hasn’t completely shut out the team leading up to the annual free-for-all that will see multiple teams, including the Cavs, bidding on the 15-year veteran’s services.
“We continue to have good dialogue with his management team,” Altman said. “I think LeBron has more than earned the right to approach his contracts the way he does. He’s done that before, so this is nothing new for us.
“We want to respect his space during this process, and I continue to have really good dialogue with his management team as he goes through that process. That’s probably all I can say at this point regarding him, but we don’t take him for granted. We love him, this city loves him. He means the world to us and this franchise.”
The long-held expectation is that James will declare for free agency. However, he still has to officially inform the team by midnight on June 29 whether on not he plans on picking up the option on his contract for the 2018-19 season.
One major positive that can be seen from Altman’s comments comes from comparing this year’s negotiations with James to eight years ago, when he subsequently left to play for four years with the Miami Heat. In 2010, James and his management team had little or no contact with Cleveland’s front office leading up to free agency, which ratcheted up the concern that he was leaving. Those fears were then realized when his made his infamous “Decision” during an hour-long ESPN program.
Altman is aware of the pressure on him to retain James, but remains confident that the team’s efforts will be enough to connect with the superstar, especially when it comes to toppling the Golden State Warriors:
“We need to get better to beat one of the all-time great teams in the history of the game, with their talent level and what they put together,” Altman said. “Dan Gilbert will spare no expense and is committed to winning championships. That is our goal. We did not meet that goal, but we have to keep doing better, and we have to invest in player development. We have to get better with our youth, and then we have to explore opportunities to add and try to improve our talent level as well. That’s my job, and we are certainly trying to attack that as we speak, for sure.”
The Cavaliers took one step in that direction on Thursday night by using the eighth overall pick in the draft to take take guard Collin Sexton from the University of Alabama. The backcourt was one of the key areas that needed to be addressed by the Cavs, with the 19-year-old helping to inject some talented new blood into the veteran team.