The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly working under the presumption that they’re likely to lose both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in the not-too-distant future.

Irving’s trade, though perhaps not imminent, is an inevitability, and James has signaled an unwillingness to commit to the franchise beyond next summer.

The Cavs are taking their time assessing trade offers for their All-Star point guard, knowing full well that the possibility of LeBron’s departure hangs over the entire process.

Per ESPN:

As the Cleveland Cavaliers deliberate on deals to move All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, the franchise is operating under a self-prescribed mandate: Presume a future without LeBron James.

 

Cleveland isn’t giving up on the possibility of re-signing James next summer, but it is no longer investing blind faith in the hope he will stay. For James, a reluctance to commit comes with an emerging set of complications. Beyond Irving’s decision to ask for a trade, Cleveland has determined that it’s unwilling to simply be reactive to James’ possible departure

 

Of course, Cavaliers officials prefer to re-sign James to a long-term deal and chase titles together into his twilight, but the Cavs are treating his unwillingness to commit as a call to protect themselves long term in the Irving trade, league sources said.

 

Owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Koby Altman want James to commit before building around him, and James largely wants to see the Cavaliers execute a plan before committing to them.

Related
Report: LeBron James ‘Likely’ Leaving Cleveland in 2018