NBA Rumors: Cavs Believed LeBron Would Leave for Lakers After NBA Title Win

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 21:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a free throw during the 4th quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 21, 2018 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers organization reportedly believed LeBron James' departure for the Los Angeles Lakers was inevitable once the franchise secured its first-ever NBA title in 2016.

According to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, the Cavs had an inkling a few months after winning the title that James was destined to join the Lakers during the 2018 offseason.

LeBron helped lead the Cavaliers to two more NBA Finals appearances before leaving, but they were beaten by the Golden State Warriors each time.

Cleveland was especially listless during the 2018 NBA Finals following the trade of guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics.

Per Lloyd, a key factor in Irving's desire to be traded was the fact that he didn't want to be left with a shell of a team around him if James decided to sign with the Lakers.

The Cavs' fears came to fruition, and they are an NBA-worst 2-14 this season with LeBron out of the picture.

James returned to Cleveland on Wednesday for the first time since leaving in free agency.

The Lakers defeated the Cavaliers 109-105, and LeBron was greeted warmly by the fans at Quicken Loans Arena, unlike the first time after he left for the Miami Heat in 2010.

With James in the fold, the Lakers are seventh in the Western Conference at 10-7 and in position for their first playoff berth since the 2012-13 campaign.

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