The NBA’s preeminent free agency oracle has spoken, and it’s not something Cavaliers fans wanted to hear, especially given the week they’ve had. Speaking on his The Vertical podcast Wednesday, Woj dropped this speculative bomb, which has been getting passed around the internet as if the Warriors were trying to get it to an open jump shooter.
“Not only is there no guarantee he’s coming back, I’m not sure there is an expectation he’s re-signing there. I think within Cleveland and around the league they feel that he is very much in play to leave again and likely head out West to one of the two LA teams. The Lakers could very well be a target…I think the focus, a lot of LeBron’s business interests, his Hollywood aspirations, his media ventures are based out there. And I wrote this last year and said it and believed it — the minute he won that championship in Cleveland, he was liberated to leave again. Now, if he had not won a title in Cleveland and left again, I think there would be tremendous backlash again. But the fact that he came back and did what he set out to do, which was bring a title to Cleveland.”
Not positive the move would lead to another ring — or even a conference final, given how tough the Western Conference is — but it’d definitely be a stimulus for the sports media world. Seriously, what moves the needle more than LeBron James’ surprise free agency decisions? Nothing, which is why we’re cautious about believing this developing narrative, and much more interested in investigating what his current team can do to beef up their roster for next year’s inevitable showdown with Golden State. Our five favorite lanky free agents Cleveland should be targeting, below…
ANDRE ROBERSON (6’7″)
CONTRACT STATUS: Restricted
COMPETITORS: Oklahoma City
PROS: Young, freakishly athletic, elite defender, on a team that might be interested in draft picks given their current contracts (ahem, Russell Westbrook, ahem).
CONS: Doesn’t address the Cavaliers needs on the other end of the floor.
OTTO PORTER (6’8″)
CONTRACT STATUS: Restricted free agent
COMPETITORS: Washington, New York
PROS: Young, versatile defender, developing into a dependable deep threat.
CONS: Probably not gonna be available until next offseason.
SERGE IBAKA (6’10”)
CONTRACT STATUS: Unrestricted free agent
COMPETITORS: Toronto Raptors, highest bidder
PROS: Proven commodity with ample postseason experience, shot blocker who can defend the pick and roll, closes out well, has experience shutting down the Warriors in the playoffs.
CONS: Will need $$$.
RUDY GAY (6’8″)
CONTRACT STATUS: Player option
COMPETITORS: Uh, someone, probably.
PROS: Long, showing he’s capable of improving late in his career (last season was set to be his best before the injury), already has experience playing with LeBron in the Olympics, could be a steal, reportedly has already opted out.
CONS: In an isolation offense like the one the Cavs seem to run, Rudy Gay could be a nightmare.
GORDON HAYWARD (6’8″)
CONTRACT STATUS: Player option
COMPETITORS: Utah, Boston
PROS: I dunno, we heard he was kinda good at basketball.
CONS: Doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d bail on the team that drafted him for a ring, but then again, neither did Kevin Durant. Then there’s the whole money thing: he’ll want a max contract and the Cavaliers can’t handle that without trading Kevin…Love…to…the…Jazz omg omg this is an awesome trade rumor in the making!!!!&*($)