By Seth Rivello
When you look at any roster before the season, no matter what sport, you normally have high hopes. “This guy will have a career year” or “This guy is going to help a lot.” That’s what I was thinking when I first saw the Cleveland Cavaliers roster, and many others thought the same thing.
Back in August, All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics because of his unwillingness to play with LeBron James. In return, the Cavaliers received an injured, undersized scoring threat in Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, some big guy named
Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets 2018 first round draft pick.
At the time, this seemed great. Thomas was averaging 28 points per game in the regular season for Boston, Crowder was scoring in double digits and a good defender, and the Brooklyn pick might be top-3.
So far, Thomas has only played 13 games and is a locker room cancer. He’s reportedly called out Kevin Love in a team meeting for faking an illness against the Oklahoma City Thunder and just hasn’t found a place in the offense. He’s shooting the ball at a measly 36 percent while in Boston, Irving has turned into the man.
Now, the Cavs might be third in the Eastern Conference standings at 30-21 but they don’t stand a chance in the playoffs. They won’t compete with the Western Conference and possibly the two teams above them in the East: Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors. The Cavs are missing a big man so they are trying to deal before the deadline, today at 3 p.m.
No team wants to take on Tristan Thompson’s $82 million contract because he flat-out can’t play. They pretty much paid a Pringles can to play center. Other assets are J.R. Smith who is shooting 37 percent, injured Kevin Love who still produces when healthy, the Brooklyn first rounder, and LeBron James. It might seem unholy to trade LeBron but if you think about it, he probably won’t be in Cleveland next year and when he leaves, this team is nothing.
A team would be willing to give up major assets for LeBron not just to win but to also sell tickets and merchandise. It seems like Dan Gilbert (Cavs owner) and LeBron don’t really get along so this move seems very possible if he waived his no trade clause. It would be better to take Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, and the Phoenix Suns’ young talent and picks than see LeBron just walk out of Cleveland into a Golden State Warriors jersey next season.
The All-Star break is approaching fast and teams can make immediate changes on this week off. Time is running out quickly before the playoffs begin so compromises need to be made ASAP. Without a big man to handle the paint, the Cavaliers’ finals hopes are dead; they might make it there but they won’t win.
If LeBron really cared about Cleveland, he would waive the no-trade clause and let the Cavaliers build off of him. Let them bring in young talent, build through the draft, and LeBron would probably come in later years and possibly own the team. Instead he wants to be the villain seen in a Lakers, Rockets, or Warriors uniform.