Warriors sweep of Cavs may also sweep LeBron out of Cleveland

James provided few clues about upcoming decision, family will play a key role

Daryl Ruiter
June 08, 2018 - 11:32 pm
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) leaves the floor after game four of the 2018 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – After the final horn sounded, LeBron James walked off the floor, greeted his kids, kissed his wife, hugged his mom and went straight to the Cavaliers locker room.

Unlike 2010, James provided no sign or indication about what he plans to do next month when he decides where he’ll either continue or begin the next chapter to his career after the Golden State Warriors swept the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals for their third title in 4 years at James’ expense.

The Cavs and their fans fear that Golden State may have also swept James right out of Cleveland.

“I have no idea at this point,” James said when asked directly if he’s played his last game as a Cavalier. “The one thing that I've always done is considered, obviously, my family. Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I've got a teenage boy, a pre-teen and a little girl that wasn't around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I'll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that.

“So, I don't have an answer for you right now.”

With the series decided, James checked out with 4:03 left to a standing ovation and chants of “MVP! MVP!” from the sellout crowd and the Warriors leading 102-77. His final line: 23 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 6 turnovers.

After congratulating Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors, James took a seat and put a towel over his head momentarily. After playing all 104 regular season and playoff games, the end had come.

Everyone wants to know if it's the end in Cleveland.

"When I decide what I'm going to do with my future, my family and the folks that have been with me for the last, you know, 20 years, pretty much, will have a say-so," James said. "Then it ultimately will come down to me, and so we'll see what happens."

Opting out of the $35 million option on his contract is a foregone conclusion, but he could re-sign for a third time since his return or take his talents elsewhere.

Golden State simply overwhelmed James the Cavaliers in The Finals the last 2 years thanks to the addition of Kevin Durant winning 8 of 9 games between the teams, leaving James with a difficult decision to make next month.

Durant was named Finals MVP for a second straight year and James’ career is about to enter the third part of its trilogy.

The first act saw his quest for a championship take him after 7 years from Cleveland to Miami where he exercised those demons by winning 2 of 4 Finals with the Heat.

James returned in 2014 and achieved his second goal when he helped lead the Cavaliers to an historic NBA championship that saw them become the first team ever to rally from 3-1 down and end a 52-year championship drought for Cleveland.

“I came back because I felt like I had some unfinished business,” James said. “To be able to be a part of a championship team two years ago with the team that we had and in the fashion that we had is something I will always remember. Honestly, I think we'll all remember that. It ended a drought for Cleveland of 50-plus years, so I think we'll all remember that in sports history.”

While James might have had every intention of ending his career in Cleveland, Durant and Golden State seems to have derailed those plans, meaning that his next pursuit will now be taking down these Warriors, who have ruined his homecoming and bid for his own Cavs dynasty.  

“I still have so much to give to the game,” James said. “When you have a goal and you're able to accomplish that goal, it actually -- for me personally, it made me even more hungry to continue to try to win championships, and I still want to be in championship mode. I think I've shown this year why I will still continue to be in championship mode.”

While providing no definitive answers as to what he is thinking, he did leave a few breadcrumbs for everyone to chew on the next few weeks.

While James may start over, he doesn’t want to start from scratch.

“It's definitely not the most comfortable thing to start a team from scratch,” James, who explained the importance of health, avoiding injuries and developing chemistry, said. "Being a part of the start-fresh mode is something that you definitely don't want to be a part of."

The only other hint about what will influence his decision-making process, besides family, is his desire to surround himself with smart players. It was a point he made on Thursday and he mentioned again Friday night. 

He did it in 2010 in Miami, again in 2014 with the Cavs and he plans to do it again in 2018 either with the Cavs again or elsewhere. 

"When you feel like you're really good at your craft, I think it's always great to be able to be around other great minds as well and other great ballplayers, in my instance, and other great just, I think, students of the game itself," James said. "That's never changed. Even when I came here in '14, I wanted to try to surround myself and surround this franchise with great minds and guys that actually think outside the box of the game and not just go out and play it."

The question is, where will James continue to play the game next season and with which superstars?