LeBron says he owes it to his teammates to finish the season in Cleveland, no matter how it ends. Things have been heating up so bad in Cleveland that reporters have questioned whether LeBron James would waive his no-trade clause and seek a new home before the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline.
Asked about it after an embarrassing 116-98 loss to the Orlando Magic — an 18-point loss after the Cavaliers built a 21-point first-half lead — James shot the idea down with so much fury.
Here’s what the NBA star said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“I’m here for the long haul; I’m here for this season right now, [to] try to figure out ways we can still compete. I couldn’t give up on my teammates like that. I couldn’t do that. I just couldn’t do it. We put too much into the game every single day. We go out and prepare. Win, lose or draw, at the end of the day, we’re all brothers, and we understand that. I owe it to my teammates to finish this season out no matter how it ends up. I would never waive my no-trade clause.”
Well, LeBron would obviously never waive his no-trade clause to bolt town midseason. Not only has he built his legacy on bringing a championship to Cleveland and positioning the team for a second, but he has also made a bunch of boss moves in his career, and ditching your teammates when the going gets tough is not a boss move.
Basically, Lebron can’t even be traded after signing the three-year, $100 million contract back in 2016. His salary this season alone is roughly $33.3 million. Few players make $30 million annually in the NBA, and even fewer of those players are as valuable as LeBron James. A few totally serious, feasible LeBron trade options were hatched, back in August. The Cavs management could consider those options if they’re looking for a total rebuild.
LeBron is the end-all, be-all of a Cavaliers team that is heading for its fourth straight NBA Finals appearance. Cleveland has had a fair number of midseason meltdowns in the past, but nothing like this one. The Cavaliers are 6-10 since Jan. 1 and are now tied with the Wizards for the No. 3 seed in the East. No LeBron team has finished lower than second since he joined the Miami Heat for the 2010-11 season.
The Cavs have their problems, some of which could be sorted, and others that can’t be. Those problems not only need to be fixed, but fast enough, if they’re going to make another championship run.
At the rate Cleveland is going now, LeBron would definitely be asked about more than just a no-trade clause at the end of this season. And the last time he had to answer this kind of question, I’m sure we all know and remember how it went down.