LeBron James’ decision to leave the Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers has left Cleveland hurt but not bitter, according to general manager Koby Altman.
James led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2018 and was a big reason the team saw as much success as it did in the playoffs, winning the Eastern Conference finals.
But the 33-year-old informed the Cavaliers on June 29 that he was going to opt out of the final year of his contract to move to California.
“When you first get hit with it, there is a level of hurt,” Altman told reporters Friday, as quoted by ESPN.
“You’re hurt because of what you went through for the four years with him and what he meant to us. But I was extremely thankful, at the same time.
“I realize what we accomplished this year and the last four years, and we did a lot. I mean, it was four incredible years led by him, and I’m very thankful for the years he gave our team, this organization, the city.
“I don’t think it was anything we did right or we did wrong,” Altman added.
“He deserved to make this decision for him and his career and what he wanted to do. So we can’t take it personal. We’re not bitter. We’re thankful and happy that he spent the last four years with us.”
Coach Tyronn Lue echoed the same sentiment and said he did not expect it and was shocked when he heard James’ decision.
“I was shocked and hurt a little bit by the decision,” Lue told NBA TV.
“But like I said, we talked, and he said that I’m his favourite guy. He loved being coached by me. He loved the four seasons we had together and that this decision was totally just a decision for himself and his family. I can live with that.”