LeBron James has reduced the Eastern Conference playoffs to a formality at this point with seven consecutive Finals appearances, but it won't be easy for the Cavs to work around the salary cap and improve their roster this offseason without making a blockbuster trade.
According to veteran NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, many around the NBA believe LeBron could opt out of his contract next summer and leave to join the Clippers or Lakers in 2018.
Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe reacted to the report on Thursday's episode of "Undisputed."
LeBron is simply trying to pressure Cavs owner Dan Gilbert
“I don’t [see LeBron going to L.A.], I believe this is a ploy to keep the pressure on Dan Gilbert.
"Dan Gilbert, they had a handshake deal that they would spend the maximum amount of money to make sure that the team that was around [LeBron] would give him the best opportunity not only to compete but to win titles.
"He’s always going to keep the pressure on because he knows these two teams here -- Steve Ballmer’s the wealthiest owner in the NBA,Jeanie Buss is now in control of the Lakers with Magic Johnson. He knows it takes money to make money. Magic Johnson knows what he was surrounded by when he was playing with the Showtime Lakers because he had a Kareem, a James Worthy, a Bob McAdoo, Byron Scott.
"So [LeBron] knows that these two teams [in L.A.] will spend money. He has a home in Beverly Hills.”
Gary A. VasquezGary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Why would LeBron think he would be better off in L.A.?
“First of all, going to the Lakers … really? Do you know what’s out there in the West? There’s a team that’s a five-, six-hour drive up in Oakland.
"I’m going to leave Kyrie Irving in his prime to go join D’Angelo Russell? To join Chris Paul, who can’t stay healthy, who hasn’t been healthy since 2015? And then that year he got hurt in the playoffs. That’s what I’m going to do?
"No, Skip, this is all about leverage. And LeBron James has it.
"He says, ‘Look, I appreciate what you’ve done thus far, but going to the Finals and losing in five games is not good enough. I need more, and I need you to know.’
"Now he said he was coming back to win a title. He delivered on that promise a lot sooner maybe than a lot of people anticipated, maybe even than he anticipated.”
Gary A. VasquezGary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
LeBron knows he has to do whatever it takes to win titles
“He’s saying ‘Dan Gilbert, I don’t know what you want your legacy to be. Maybe you’re fine not being a Dr. Buss. Maybe you’re fine without being a Red Auerbach.
"But for me, I’m judged by titles, and I want more of them. And if you’re not going to be willing to give me what I need as far as players and spending that luxury tax, I’ve got to hit you with the deuces and roll up out of here.’
"I don’t believe he’ll leave after 2018, especially when they’re going to get Paul George.”
Ken BlazeKen Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry West could be the key to LeBron coming to L.A.
“I hear you, and I think that’s got a high possibility, but I also think the odds dramatically increased yesterday when the story broke that LeBron will end up with the Clippers one year from now. Because Jerry West wound up with the Clippers.
"There are certain people in sports I tell you I don’t bet against, and that man is one of them -- because almost everywhere he’s been, great things have happened. Great things did not happen in Memphis, thoughhe did turn around the franchise, but he drafted Kobe Bryant. He had the vision to draft him. He went and acquired Shaq, he got him out of Orlando to Los Angeles. And you can’t tell me that he didn’t have huge impact in Golden State, because reportedly he talked them out of trading Klay Thompson for Kevin Love.
"That was huge because he was arguing, ‘No, you need his defensive prowess to complement Steph.’ They’re perfect complements, 1 and 1-A in the backcourt, and obviously the greatest shooting backcourt ever.”
Cary EdmondsonCary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
LeBron has a better chance of winning a ring with the Clippers than he does in Cleveland
“[West] will start to change life with the Clippers. I don’t know if he wants to keep Chris Paul or let him go to San Antonio, I have no idea how that’s going to play out, but I can promise you good-to-great things will continue to happen to the Clippers thanks to Jerry West. And it will increase the odds that LeBron will open his eyes and say, ‘A-ha, maybe something is happening there. Maybe I should go there.’
"Because I think LeBron wants to go there and join some of his banana boat friends. I don’t know if that’s all going to work, they’re all going to be awfully old. But if LeBron wants a shot at maximizing his ring potential, it would be with Jerry West, to me, and not with whoever’s left in Cleveland.”
Kirby LeeKirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
If the Cavs land Paul George this summer, they will dethrone the champs
“Paul George, Kyrie and LeBron James will win 68 games and the championship if that were to happen.”
Skip Bayless: “Well Kyrie and LeBron, period, end of story, standing pat will win the East next year. But with George Paul or Paul George, either one, you’re not going to beat the winner of the West.”
Shannon Sharpe: “They will win at least -- with Paul George, Kyrie and LeBron -- they will win at least 68 games. They will win the NBA title in 2018.”