(SP) – The Cleveland Cavaliers do not officially have a general manager at the moment, but that did not stop LeBron James from completing a deal in the early-morning hours that saw the Cavs land almost every top NBA player currently not employed by the Golden State Warriors. No less than 29 teams were involved in the deal, every team but Golden State, making it the biggest trade in NBA history.
“I’m happy with the players we got,” James said. “I think we are in great position for next year.”
Among the players Cleveland received in the deal are Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Kristaps Porzingis, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard and John Wall, among others. Chris Paul and Gordon Hayward are also now reportedly leaning towards signing with the Cavaliers in free agency. To land the bounty of players, Cleveland had to part with Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert and a few draft picks through the 2023 season.
“The whole deal really hinged on the Knicks,” said James. “I’ll admit that the return is pretty uneven in our favor, so we needed a team or two to bite the bullet. The Knicks giving up Porzingis and four 1st Rounders and agreeing to pay the bulk of the contracts of the players we got in exchange for Shump and a 2022 2nd Rounder really helped get it done.”
The Knicks had hoped to send Carmelo Anthony to Cleveland in the deal, but James refused.
“I’m trying to win a championship here,” he said. “This deal is only about that, not championships.”
With the dust still settling on the deal, the league is trying to get a grasp on the new landscape. But most feel the moves are not over.
“Cleveland still has some cap space and let’s not forget that Kevin Durant is a free agent,” said one front office exec. “I’m fairly certain he’ll go there now that they’re the favorites to win.”