After a decisive defeat in the 2017 NBA Finals, LeBron James was expecting a major overhaul to the Cleveland Cavaliers roster as a step toward dethroning the Golden State Warriors from their seat atop the league.
Instead, James got Jose Calderon, Jeff Green, and a newly re-signed Kyle Korver. In the process, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert let general manager David Griffin walk after the expiring of his contract. Griffin enjoyed support from LeBron.
According to USA Today, James is not happy with how the offseason has unfolded:
Expecting an aggressive offseason approach that would close the gap on the champion Golden State Warriors, James soon found his anticipation and optimism diminished after Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert dismantled the front office, declining days before the draft and free agency to bring back general manager David Griffin and vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden.
Gilbert’s decision left the Cavs without the franchise’s top two front-office execs at a critical time, and it left James frustrated and concerned about the team’s ability to put together a roster that can better compete with Golden State, the person with direct knowledge of James’ thinking told USA TODAY Sports. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
Making matters worse, the Cavaliers almost landed former Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler in a trade, but talks fell apart after Griffin’s dismissal.
Further exacerbating James’ frustration is the Cavs were close to making a deal for then-Chicago Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler the day Gilbert decided to mutually part ways with Griffin and Redden, two people familiar with negotiations told USA TODAY Sports. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the negotiations.
“We are confident our current front office will continue to aggressively explore and pursue opportunities to improve our team in the weeks ahead,” Gilbert said after parting ways with Griffin.
The Cavaliers still don’t have a GM, and it appears that’s because Gilbert is uncomfortable paying one at market rate.
At this point, it’d be hard to blame LeBron James for walking away from the Cavs in free agency during the 2018 offseason.