LeBron James’ first NBA coach didn’t believe James would leave Cleveland
as a free agent this summer, but after watching the Cavaliers come up
short of a championship again, all that has changed.
Paul Silas, who coached James with the Cavs from 2003-05, has become a
believer in speculation that James will move on this summer.
"I think there’s a lot to it now," Silas said Monday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "Initially, I didn’t because I thought that LeBron had exactly what he wanted in Cleveland. I thought that they would go to the Finals this year, and I had them winning a championship this year. But with the way things played out, I just don’t know whether or not he’s satisfied with the progress that the team has made. They did a lot of changing with the personnel and nothing seemed to work. I think they have a lot of soul searching to do and so does he."
Silas was fired 64 games into the 2004-05 season, James’ second in the NBA. Mike Brown took over the following season and has led Cleveland to five straight playoff appearances, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2007. The Boston Celtics eliminated the Cavs in the second round on Thursday.
"Winning is what’s most important to him. Ever since I had him for two years that’s all he talked about," Silas said. "Because [the Cavs] have not done anything in the last five years, I just think he’s given a lot of thought [to leaving]. If he can go somewhere and win the championship … It’s one thing to be called the greatest. The greatest, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, they’ve won championships. This is what’s most important to LeBron."
Silas said the Chicago Bulls’ biggest selling point could be point guard Derrick Rose, who emerged as an All-Star in his second season.
"That’s really what LeBron needs," Silas said of a player like Rose. "He needs a point guard that can take over and run the ballclub. When the chips are down, the ball is going to go to [James]. But on the other hand, when [James] is double-teamed, he can get it to Derrick, and he can penetrate or make that shot. His shooting is going to get better. I think you need three super players on a team in order to win and win big."
The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that according to league sources, basketball power broker William Wesley — a friend of both James and Kentucky coach John Calipari — has been quietly contacting NBA teams that have coaching vacancies and salary cap space about the possibility of bringing in James and Calipari together.