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Cavs no longer desperate for LeBron James, but trades could keep him in Cleveland

One reason many have assumed that James would bolt at the end of the year was his fractured relationship with Dan Gilbert, which has deep roots but most recently dates back to the letting go of David Griffin last summer and the team’s inability to pull the trigger on a deal for Paul George. That, of course, was followed by the trade of Kyrie Irving to the rival Celtics.

But new general manager Koby Altman has brandished his chops in the last couple of days, pulling off a trio of moves to make the roster younger and better. Unless James has already decided he is leaving �� and there’s no indication he has made a decision on his future �� it would be hard to see what’s going on with the Lakers these days and conclude he’d have a better future in LA than in Cleveland.

If the Lakers let their current unrestricted free agents walk, they would have about $47.8 million in space this summer, and that includes the $12.4 million cap hold for pending restricted free agent Julius Randle. If they renounce him as well, their cap space skyrockets to just under $60 million.

I would have said it was a 50-50 proposition that he would go back to Cleveland this summer before all of this, even a week ago, one league executive told Sporting News. I think this moves it more in the Cavs’ favor. They’re younger and deeper. If the lifestyle is all the same to him, and I don’t know that it is, I’d think he would stay in Cleveland.

I would put it from 50-50 a week ago to now, something like 75-25 that he stays. Even if they don’t win this year, they’ve given themselves room to grow.

The 2018 NBA All-Star game will tip off at 8 p.m. ET on Feb. 18 in Los Angeles’ Staples Center. This is the fourth time the All-Star game has been played in L.A.; the Staples Center most recently played host to the exhibition in 2011.

This year’s All-Star game deviates from the traditional East vs. West format that had been in place since the inaugural game in 1951. The All-Star rosters are still made up of 12 players from each conference, but the two teams were drafted by the game’s leading vote-getters and captains, LeBron James and Stephen Curry.

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