I don’t agree with this thinking at all. The roster that they constructed resulted in a championship by season 2, and this season they will arguably go down as one of the best teams to not win the championship (they’re going up against the best team of all time). Trading wiggins was a smart move, it helped build them a championship roster and they ended up with the better of the two players (wiggins isn’t doing extremely well at the moment). The idea that getting love hamstrung their cap space is kinda weird too. What free agent were they going to go after? Aside from Durant which wasn’t gonna happen, who was the best one available? Aldridge? Kevin love is already a better version of aldridge. And as far as being hamstrung at the moment, Cavs have two trade assets in Irving and Love if they need to change things up (which I believe they do).
In regards to Lebron hurting their ability to negotiate, I think there’s some credence to that but that it’s also extremely overstated. Are there any truly bad deals on this roster? Irving and Love are on great deals given the market; Thompson is expensive but without him they don’t win a championship last year. I’d say JR is their only bad deal at the moment, but even that isn’t a team-breaking deal.
And to your last point, sure drafting is a great way to team-build, but Lebron’s in the tail end of his career. He has 2 more years at the level he’s playing right now! He doesn’t have time to wait on draft picks to develop (which takes a hell of a long time).
I think in the end, what Lebron did for player’s power over their own destiny is amazing. I’m tired of owners and GMs having the sole say in how things ended up, and the players being powerless chips in it all. Player’s shouldn’t be afraid to move how they feel best, just how people should feel free to transfer to different companies if a job opportunity they like arises. Giving players the power to move how they want doesn’t negate owners and GMs from building teams, it just requires them to be more creative and actually listen to players (who at the end of the day are the reason the league is what it is).