The Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be falling apart at the seams. During the past couple of weeks, reports have surfaced that Kyrie Irving wants to be traded and LeBron James will exercise his player option to leave Cleveland in the summer of 2018.
NBA source said today: "This will be LeBron's final season in Cleveland. He is 100 percent leaving. Relationship with owners beyond repair."— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) August 16, 2017
With both reports coming from credible reporters, it's safe to say that the Cleveland Cavaliers are on the verge of collapsing. The only thing that can save them now is an NBA championship in 2018 and the chances of that happening look very bleak. As crazy as it sounds, the Cavaliers are on track to be without both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in 12-18 months.
What you might be wondering is how did this happen? Weren't these guys building a dynasty in Cleveland? The answer appears to lie in the fact that neither James nor Irving have much faith in the front office. While he should certainly be credited for helping the team win their first NBA title, owner Dan Gilbert needs to take a lot of heat for this happening. For Gilbert to have his two superstars both wanting out reflects very poorly on how he has ran the organization during the last couple of years.
Part of it might stem from the way in which Gilbert handled James' initial departure from Cleveland. Rather than taking the high road and wishing him good luck in Miami, Gilbert cried like a spoiled brat and threw one of the biggest hissy fits ever seen by a professional sports owner.
When James did return, Gilbert failed to bring in a competent head coach. Both David Blatt and Tyronn Lue have been nothing more than figure heads on the bench. Their job has been to open up the gym before practice, close the gym after practice, and talk to the media. That's pretty much it. Not once have I or anyone else who follows the NBA viewed them as legitimate coaches.
In addition to failing to hire a good head coach, Gilbert also made the fatal mistake of allowing Andrew Wiggins to be traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. To be fair, LeBron James was the one who pushed for this trade so he deserves a lot of the blame for that happening. All the same, Gilbert could have still done more to keep Wiggins and try to explain to James why Wiggins was actually the better player to have on the team both in the present and in the future.
The only thing the Cavaliers have going for them right now is that it's 2017 and not 2018. Both James and Irving want to win more than anything. If Dan Gilbert and his chums in the front office can pull a rabbit out of their hat and make some amazing trades before the trade deadline, maybe things will be different in a year. I highly doubt it, though. With the way things are going, this team will be lottery bound heading into the 2019 NBA Draft and they'll be back to square one, hoping to land another #1 draft pick.
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