Sportress of Blogitude

Tyronn Lue says LeBron James ‘just seems happier’ now

It may seem counterintuitive given he’s coming off a humbling NBA Finals loss followed by a tumultuous offseason, but LeBron James “just seems happier” heading into the 2017-18 NBA season, according to Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue.

Now just imagine how James’ spirits were boosted even more upon the news that longtime pal Dwyane Wade is being brought into the Cavs’ fold.

Despite James entering his 15th NBA season that includes seven consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, Lue observed that the wear and tear of all those extended playoff runs hasn’t seemed to catch up to 32-year-old superstar.

“He seems younger,” Lue said of James, via Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon. “I call him Benjamin Button. He seems younger, he just seems happier with the game right now, just having fun. Enjoying the game. Hopefully it carries on for 82 games and into the playoffs.”

The Cavaliers, as noted, experienced a chaotic offseason due to Kyrie Irving’s surprising trade demand. The disgruntled point guard was ultimately shipped off to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Nets’ unprotected 2018 first-round pick and a second-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

The addition of Wade, who at 35 isn’t the same player James teamed with to win two titles with the Miami Heat, nevertheless will be something of a boost for the Cavaliers, if only that it presumably lifts James’ spirits.

What Wade’s addition means for the Cavaliers early on — Thomas is expected to be out until around January with a hip injury — remains to be seen. That said, it should go without saying the Cavaliers certainly will compete for another appearance in the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference.

Still, an apparently hungry and motivated — not to mention happier — James? That alone probably should inspire a sense of dread throughout the NBA.