LeBron James to Warriors report highlights discontent within Cavaliers

Guardian sport
The Guardian
  • ESPN report says 14-time All Star is open to meeting with Golden State

  • Cleveland in slump and James said to be unhappy with way team is run

<span class="element-image__caption"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4244/" data-ylk="slk:Kevin Durant">Kevin Durant</a> and <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/3704/" data-ylk="slk:LeBron James">LeBron James</a> faced off in last season’s NBA finals. </span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Tony Dejak/AP</span>
Kevin Durant and LeBron James faced off in last season’s NBA finals. Photograph: Tony Dejak/AP

The prospect of the super-team to end all super-teams has raised its head ever so slightly following an ESPN report saying LeBron James would listen to an offer from the Golden State Warriors during free agency.

The story, which cites “league sources” is dampened by the fact that ESPN says the Golden State Warriors aren’t known to be exploring such an option. It says James would be open to a meeting with the NBA champions “out of respect for the Warriors’ winning culture”. Although the prospect of James teaming up with Steph Curry and Kevin Durant is mouth-watering and soul crushing in equal measures, the story is more interesting as an insight into the 14-time All-Star’s discontent with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers than a realistic option.

James is expected to hit free agency in the off-season and he could still re-sign with the Cavaliers, although a move to the LA Lakers has also been rumoured. However, after a visit to three successive NBA finals – and a championship in 2016 – the Cavs are struggling this season and James is unhappy with the way the front office is running the team. HIs relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is also frosty. The Warriors, on the other hand, are perhaps the best-run team in the league, which calls into question why they would want to upset their balance by bringing in James.

If the move was to go ahead, the Warriors would have to offload players such as Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala as well as persuading Durant to take a pay cut. Even then, in order to meet the NBA’s salary cap Golden State would need to fill their bench with players on the league minimum.

ESPN’s Chris Haynes, who wrote the story, does have a history of scoops on player moves. He was the first to report that Gordon Hayward would join the Celtics, something that was denied by the players representatives before Hayward did indeed move to Boston. If this story panned out, it would be on a whole other level of unpredictability, however.

The Cavaliers, who were expected to meet the Warriors in the NBA finals for a fourth time this year, are third in the Eastern Conference and have lost six of their last 10 games.

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