All that said, with their future fluctuating on the whims of both James and Irving, the Cavaliers have a duty to prepare for life without them. Getting veteran players who help win championships this season doesn’t do that.
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Shamar Stephen Limited Jersey Sure, solid veteran players might help keep James around next summer. But he still won’t commit to a decision no matter what the return in the Irving deal ends up being — or if it even happens at all. James is a master businessman and decision maker who always keeps his options open. He won’t change that just because of a new acquisition or two.
Trading for youth sets the Cavaliers up for the long-term, and that’s their best bet to remain competitive in the future. James’ best years are behind him, even if he’s still amazing and chasing championships.
The Warriors are still the team to beat in the league and no one is coming close anytime soon. The league is thinking differently because of their presence and, even though they have James, the Cavs may need to do the same. Building for the future is their best move.
Tampering is so fuzzy and subjective. Players, coaches, and general managers talk to each other all the time. Agents have increasingly transitioned into front office roles; retired players are moving into that direction, too.
Meanwhile, the financial rules governing cap space and contracts are complex and rigid. It’s quite hard to differentiate between two teams that have cap space. Without the Durant Rule contract, home teams have limited advantage in retaining stars. (Again, look at Hayward.) Plus, everyone under the sun knows who has cap space and who doesn’t.