Cavs Media Day: Highlights from LeBron James

In a wide-ranging interview, LeBron James not only spoke about Kyrie Irving’s trade request from the Cleveland Cavaliers, as everyone expected, but his own upcoming free agency, his thoughts on President Trump, his teammates (both old and new) and his inspiration this summer.

Cleveland Cavaliers fans and media were given a gift by the team’s hometown hero and in-house superstar.

Asking the media to address one topic at a time, James started the conversation with his thoughts on the Irving trade. James spoke at length about trying to help Irving grow into the best player he could be and his willingness to give Irving the keys to the franchise after he left, showing a hint of the frustration you’d expect from a player whose second-in-command asked to leave the team, presumably because of the environment that comes with playing beside James.

In any case, Irving’s departure and Isaiah Thomas’ injury leaves plenty of opportunity for Kevin Love. James “loves the fact that K. Love doesn’t get talked about”, comparing him to former teammate Chris Bosh. Love, James said, may be lost in the grand scheme of things with the media because he’s not a flashy player. However, according to James, he’s not left in the grand scheme of what the team needs to win a championship.

After brief tirade about Irving no longer being able to come to him for advice because you’re “either with us or against us”, a statement that flies in the face of James’ open-door policy for players that seek his counsel, James went on to talk about sports and politics.

NEO Sports Insiders’ Ashley Bastock has a terrific piece on James’ comments regarding societal progress, the current political and social climate and his tiff with President Trump. Notable among James’ quotes were James’ statements regarding Colin Kaepernick, and NFL quarterback whose become a prominent civil activist and one who can’t seem to find a job in the NFL after kneeling during the National Anthem in protest.

Of Kaepernick, James applauded his efforts before expressing remorse that he had to be the one to “fall on the sword”.

“I wish I owned an NFL team”, James said, “I’d sign him today”.

Long considered to be the most progressive professional sports league in America, James is the most prominent civil rights activist in the NBA. His words and his actions not only inspire action but they have an immense power to them.

Preceding a relatively brief and predictable response regarding Dwyane Wade’s buyout and the possibility that the Cleveland Cavaliers sign him (“I’d love to have him”), James talked about his intentions to retire in Cleveland and his business-like approach to free agency. For all intents and purposes, the King looks as if he’s willing to stay in his kingdom. However, as you’d probably expect from a man who is a business tycoon off the court, James will approach his upcoming free agency with a business-like fashion.

Perhaps he won’t personally meet with teams but send a representative like Rich Paul to pick the minds of opposing general managers and coaches. Perhaps he’ll commit to re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers but wait for other players to be signed before putting his signature on the dotted line. He’s done as much before, though his first time leaving Cleveland seems to have fans and media suffering from a sort of post traumatic stress whenever he’s set to be a free agent. There always seems to be more fear James will leave than actual logic as to why he would leave.

That’s why, as James began to talk about his summer and his teammates, he sounded very much like a player completely invested in the franchise.

“[My feelings on finishing my career in Cleveland] haven’t changed, that’s why I sit here today still in this uniform, still ready to lead this franchise to a championship” – LeBron James

After mentioning that he’s had one of the best offseasons in his career and that this summer it was his sons and their AAU teams that inspired him, James went on to discuss what specifically excites him about his new teammates.

He loves Isaiah Thomas, in terms of his on-court play, his heart and his determination.

He loves Jae Crowder’s toughness and ability to guard wings, forwards and, depending on the matchup, even point guards and centers.

He believes Jose Calderon is a steady point guard who is consistently one of the best three-point and free-throw shooters in the league.

He’s excited about Ante Zizic (who he called “Big Z”) and Cedi Osman (who played well in EuroBasket 2017) and can’t wait for those two to develop with the Cavs over the course of the season.

He’s happy to have Jeff Green.

He’s more excited than anybody about Derrick Rose.

According to James, “they all got chips on they shoulders”. Their determination to prove naysayers wrong will hopefully have a positive impact on their play this season.

James should have a chip on his shoulder too, with the media always ready to prematurely dethrone him and give the title of the “best NBA player in the world” to anyone but the player who has led his team to seven consecutive NBA Finals appearances.

Whose ready for October 17th?

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