Now that the Cavaliers drafted their man, the next order of business is to try and keep the man.
To that end, Cavs general manager Koby Altman made a case Thursday that the organization’s drafting of point guard Collin Sexton eighth overall could be a step toward convincing LeBron James to stay in Cleveland.
“I hope,” Altman said. “I think the pick, along with our youth and our momentum as a franchise, for LeBron and for everybody, I think there’s a real energy here. And I think the talent level of Collin I’m almost sure LeBron recognizes.”
James, you may have heard, can be a free agent on July 1 if he chooses to let pass a $35.6 million option on his contract for next season. The deadline to pick up that option is June 29.
Cleveland was swept out of the Finals by the Warriors and is just 1-8 in the last two Finals against Golden State.
As James bid farewell for the summer after the Game 4 loss, he said “I still want to be in championship mode.”
“I think I’ve shown this year why I will still continue to be in championship mode,” James said at the conclusion of what was likely his finest individual season. He played in all of the Cavs’ 104 games, regular season and post, and averaged 34 points in the playoffs.
Altman spoke a little about James’ possible free agency on Thursday — a first for the organization since the season ended. He called James’ season “remarkable, historical.”
“He gave his heart and soul, die-hard energy, commitment to this team, to this franchise, to the city, to Northeast Ohio,” Altman said. “And I like I said, it was an historical year and probably one of the best postseason runs of all time and very, very fortunate to have him here and what he gave to this franchise this year was nothing short of remarkable.”
Altman said James has “has more than earned the right to approach his contracts the way he does,” and the Cavs “want to respect his space during this process.” He said he’s had good dialogue with James’ management team, which is headed by agent Rich Paul.
“We love him, this city loves him,” Altman said. “He means the world to us and this franchise.”