The View From Pluto: The Cavs Face A Summer of Changes and the Big LeBron Question
Now that the Cavs' season has ended, the summer of potential big changes begins. There’s lots of speculation about whether LeBron James will stay in Cleveland when his contract is up July 1, and what the rest of the team will look like next season.
WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says in addition to James' next decision, the front office has to take a close look at the coach, Tyronn Lue.
"Lue did not have a good year coaching," Pluto says. "He missed almost three weeks with symptoms of an accelerated heartbeat, sleep deprivation and at one point, spitting up blood. This guy is 40 going on 70."
Lue, 41, has three years left on a five-year, $35 million contract. He acknowledged during the playoffs that he had been suffering from anxiety. Following the NBA Finals, he said he intends to return to the team next season.
The LeBron factor
However, a lot of that could be up to James.
"While LeBron was very upset after game 1, where J.R. Smith lost track of the the score, I think what bothered him just as much is that Tyronn Lue had a time out to use and didn’t use it. So, if you’re LeBron, you’re thinking, ‘I feel like I’m out here by myself.’
"I think it’s less than 50/50 that Lue's back, no matter what LeBron does. They could, for example, have assistant coach Larry Drew be the coach, who took over during Lues’ absence."
The Cavs went 8-1 during Drew's stint as head coach in March.
What's next for LeBron?
LeBron James can opt out of his contract when the NBA's free agency period begins July 1.
Pluto says he doesn't think James has already made up his mind.
“LeBron never signs on July 1st. He takes his time. He will get a max contract wherever he goes. But even more important, he realizes if you make a decision too early, crazy things happen in the NBA all the time and you could end up in the wrong spot."
The rearview mirror
Pluto says James could opt to take another one-year contract with the Cavs.
"But if you’re LeBron James, you’re 33 and you’ve played 15 years. And there’s more of your career in the rearview mirror or in front of the windshield. So when you’re deciding what road to take, you have to pick the right direction."
Still, Pluto says no matter where James goes, the Golden State Warriors will be waiting.
"Their guys are under contract and Kevin Durant, who is a free agent, has already said he’s re-signing."
Now, the decisions will be up owner Dan Gilbert.
“And he’s doing it with frankly a player that doesn’t like him," Pluto says, referring to LeBron James.
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