The Utah Jazz reportedly traded three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers on September 1st and Los Angeles Lakers superstar small forward LeBron James reacted to his former team getting one of the best players in the NBA.
James, who is the top player in Cavaliers franchise history, told social media sensation “Cuffs The Legend” that Cleveland getting Mitchell is, “SO TOUGH!!!!! Super Dope.”
The Cavaliers are sending the Jazz Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps for Mitchell, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Cleveland hasn’t won a playoff series without James in uniform since 1998, but the franchise is now primed to end that streak with Mitchell in the fold next to Darius Garland, Kevin Love, Evan Mobley, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen.
James signed a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers on August 18th. However, since the King’s extension includes a player option for the 2024-25 season, some NBA fans are wondering if James will join the Cavaliers in 2024 after the Mitchell trade.
James’ Tweet About Mitchell Trade Has Fans Wondering About His Future
If James declines his 2024-25 player option with the Lakers, he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2024. After the four-time MVP tweeted about the Mitchell trade, NBA Twitter started talking about the possibility of James leaving the Lakers for the Cavaliers.
James, who turns 38 in December, told The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd on February 19th that he would not rule out playing for the Cavaliers again before his Hall of Fame career ends. The four-time Finals MVP is Cleveland’s franchise leader in games, minutes, field goals, 3-pointers, total rebounds, assists, steals, points, triple-doubles, points per game, player efficiency rating and win shares.
“The door’s not closed on that,” James told Lloyd. “I’m not saying I’m coming back and playing, I don’t know. I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t even know when I’m free. … I think Koby (Altman) and those guys have done an unbelievable job drafting and making trades. I think big fella (Allen), that acquisition was amazing for them to make that trade. Obviously, Darius Garland is a big-time player. And I think the role that Kevin (Love) is playing right now has kind of uplifted those young guys, seeing a veteran that could sacrifice, a champion that’s won a championship, all the things that he’s done, to come off the bench and play this role. I am not surprised by anything that they’re doing right now.”
James signed with the Lakers in the summer of 2018 after playing four seasons with the Cavaliers from 2014-15 to 2017-18 (his second stint with his hometown team). LA missed the playoffs in 2018-19, won the championship in 2019-20, lost in the first round of the 2021 postseason and failed to qualify for the play-in tournament last season.
LeBron has played in 223 out of a possible 307 regular-season games since joining the Lakers, averaging 27.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.2 assists.
James Is ‘Extremely Happy’ in Los Angeles
Despite the Lakers’ disastrous 2021-22 season, James is reportedly “extremely happy” in Los Angeles, according to a July 29th report from NBA insider Marc Stein. Both of James’ sons play basketball at Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles. Bronny James will be a senior in high school this year, while Bryce James will be a sophomore. James’ wife and daughter also enjoy living in LA.
“Sources briefed on the matter stress that James is extremely happy in Los Angeles despite the Lakers’ back-to-back rocky seasons,” Stein reported. “He and his family, by all accounts, have grown increasingly entrenched in Southern California since James signed with the Lakers in the summer of 2018.”
James is 1,326 points away from passing Lakers icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. The Akron Hammer was ineligible for a no-trade clause in his new contract since he agreed to an extension.