Dreaming of LeBron James didn’t stop the Cleveland Cavaliers from trading for Luol Deng, but it is holding them back from offering him an extension and making him more than just a half-a-season rental. Their entire decision making heading into this offseason hinges on the fact that the NBA’s MVP decided to opt out of his contract and become a free agent.
LeBron James can become a free agent this summer, although he does have two more seasons worth $42.6 million left on this contract with the Miami Heat. Most believe that the only thing that will make him opt out is if the Heat suddenly become a team with no future chance of winning the NBA title. The Cavs would love to have James back despite everything that happened almost four years ago, even if it means making the Deng trade eventually becoming something that helped them get rid of Andrew Bynum, lost them draft picks and nothing more.
Deng himself, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, is fine with the Cavs not giving him an extension, knowing that they’re looking at James.
He’s a great player, why wouldn’t you look at him? If he wants to come back home, that’s great for him and great for this organization. He’s a great player. Why not? I’m all right with that. I’m here to do what I can do and be Luol Deng. I don’t really worry about it. I don’t have the mindset that I can control what everyone else thinks. I just do what I can do and try to be the best at what I do.
Things aren’t going well for Cleveland, despite the talent there. A team with Deng, Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao in the lineup, not to mention someone like Dion Waiters on the bench, shouldn’t be losing by 44 points to Sacramento, as Cleveland fall to 13-24, two games outside the playoffs in the East. While there’s still plenty of time to finish in the top 8, this season isn’t going according to plan for the Cavs.
The Anthony Bennett debacle, as the number one pick is on the verge of being sent to the D-League which might save his career but might also shatter whatever remains of his confidence completely. It seems that one of the things getting in the way of talent is the awful social situation: Mike Brown isn’t handling things too well, and there are chemistry problems with Kyrie Irving and/or Dion Waiters, depends who you believe in this internal struggle for power.