LeBron James’ relatively strange behavior of late prompted two separate conversations, first with Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue and second with Cavs GM David Griffin.
Lue, according to Cleveland.com, met with James on Saturday following the Cavs’ blowout loss to the Heat. With the Cavs trailing 65-44 at halftime, James chatted with longtime friend and former teammate Dwyane Wade instead of warming up. That, after James worked out with Wade in Miami on March 2nd as he’d done the prior season, only fueled more speculation.
“I just told him we can’t have that, being down like we were and him being the leader,” Lue told Cleveland.com. “Just me being a competitor, I didn’t like it. We had a long talk about it. It was good. He understood, he apologized, and he’s been great.”
The significance of Lue confronting James – and publicly admitting it – is essential, particularly because that’s part of the reason former coach David Blatt lost his job midseason. The timing and optics of the meeting couldn’t have been any worse for James after a piece published Wednesday on Bleacher Report, saying that he’d like to play with longtime friends Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, if only for a year or two.
“I really hope that, before our career is over, we can all play together,” James told BR. “I would actually take a pay cut to do that.”
Anthony, when asked Wednesday night in Chicago, agreed.
James made those comments on Feb. 8, but the piece ran on Wednesday, just days after he had to combat another firestorm for unfollowing the Cavs on Twitter. For what it’s worth, James said he’s taking a step back from social media with the playoffs approaching.
Griffin’s discussion with James was reportedly more general but involved his comments to Bleacher Report. The gist of the meeting was that it was time to focus on basketball, a message clearly echoed by James when he announced his was logging off of social media.
Since the loss to the Heat (James is now 0-4 since returning to Cleveland when playing in Miami), the Cavs have won two in a row and James has been as sharp as ever. In those two wins he averaged 29.5 points, 9.5 assists and 8.5 rebounds. After Wednesday’s 113-104 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, James was again probed on his desire to play with Anthony, Wade and Paul.
“I don’t know how realistic it could be,” James said to reporters on Wednesday. “It would definitely be cool if it happened, but we don’t know how realistic it could be to have us four. But, I mean, if you got an opportunity to work with three of your best friends, (you take it), no matter what. It’s not even about sports. It’s about being around guys that you don’t even have to say nothing, you automatically know. We just have that type of history.”
“So can it happen? I don’t know if it could even happen, but it would be cool.”