LEBRON James is "100 per cent leaving" the Cleveland Cavaliers because his "relationship with owners (is) beyond repair".
So says a veteran NBA reporter with a track record of predicting LeBron's movements, Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops.
Sheridan's tweet sent NBA circles into a frenzy, saying: "This will be LeBron's final season in Cleveland. He is 100 per cent leaving. Relationship with owners beyond repair."
Sheridan was the first reporter to go all-in on LeBron moving back to Cleveland as the decision loomed in 2014. He also picked Carmelo Anthony's trade from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks in 2011 - holding his ground despite major criticism of both reports.
LeBron's relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has long been fraught, most infamously due to Gilbert's open letter blast at "King James" when he left for Miami in 2010.
There has been much speculation about LeBron leaving the Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers when he enters free agency at the end of next season; something only heightened by Kyrie Irving's looming exit from Cleveland.
However, Cleveland.com reporter Joe Vardon directly challenged Sheridan's report, citing several sources close to LeBron.
"Three sources close to LeBron said this latest tweet about him is 100 per cent false," he tweeted.
It's no secret James' frustration with the organisation has been escalating since the Cavaliers were ousted in the NBA Finals and Gilbert opted not to renew general manager David Griffin's contract. Griffin's departure may have marked the beginning of the end for James, who had publicly supported Griffin and was irked he was leaving when the Cavaliers could have been adding more star power to their roster.
Even after the glory days of bringing the Cavaliers their first NBA title in 52 years, defeating the Warriors in seven games in 2016, the recent incidents have left James' relationship with ownership "beyond repair", according to Sheridan.
As James watched Jimmy Butler go to the Timberwolves and Paul George team up with Russell Westbrook and the Thunder this off-season, the 32-year-old's faith in the Cavaliers' roster and their ability to avenge this year's Finals loss to the Warriors plummeted. Now, with Irving demanding a trade and apparently feuding with his star teammate, James may be ready to cut the cord.
Though not before he plays one final season in Cleveland, which should make for a tense locker-room dynamic and content ripe for television - especially if James continues his subtle Lakers love-fest on social media.
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