Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James attempted to convince the Cavs not to trade Kyrie Irving this past offseason, and the team brokered a deal with the Boston Celtics "without consulting James," The Athletic's Jason Lloyd reported Tuesday.
According to Lloyd, Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman called James to inform him of the trade after Cleveland had already reached an agreement with Boston.
Lloyd also said James "doesn't trust" the Cavaliers' current front office and that the two sides aren't even communicating.
According to Lloyd, James was confident he could convince Irving to stay with the team, despite ESPN's Brian Windhorst reporting the All-Star point guard no longer wanted to play alongside James. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith also spoke to a source close to Irving who said he had grown tired of James "treating him like he's the child and LeBron's the father or big brother he's supposed to look up to."
Regardless of whether James could have salvaged the relationship, Lloyd's report underscored why it made little sense for Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert not to offer an extension to former GM David Griffin. Griffin had not only helped the franchise win its first-ever title, but he also had built a strong relationship with many of the players.
Gilbert compounded matters by then hiring Altman, who had little front office experience in the NBA before succeeding Griffin.
However, Lloyd's report also showed why James' presence can prove to be a double-edged sword at times. He reported James had "recruited" Jamal Crawford to sign with the Cavaliers as a free agent, but the team instead gave the open roster spot to Cedi Osman.
James' preference for Crawford is the type of short-term personnel move that has helped put the Cavs in such a difficult position.
Griffin recently gave an interview on NBA TV's The Starters explaining how James' contract situation forced the front office into "[making] a series of shortsighted, win-now deals" that give little consideration to future consequences:
Crawford is clearly more experienced than Osman, but it's hard to see how acquiring a 37-year-old swingman would help a roster that was already the oldest in the NBA. Not to mention, Cleveland already has JR Smith, who's not all that dissimilar from Crawford.
Osman, who's averaging 2.3 points and is shooting 35.7 percent from three-point range, isn't a key member of the rotation, but he may be able to help the Cavaliers navigate a possible future without James.
Considering how toxic things appear to be internally for the Cavs, it looks more and more likely that James will be playing elsewhere when the 2018-19 season tips off.