After like three-straight months of Woj Bombs, Adrian Wojnarowksi dropped another one yesterday, reporting on the state of the Eastern Conference champs.
Because the Cavaliers have got themselves a problem. LeBron James, the best player in basketball, looks likely to leave after this season.
Kyrie Irving, their All-Star point guard, wants to get traded. But the Cavs can’t agree on a trade for Kyrie without knowing what LeBron is going to do. And LeBron won’t decide what he wants to do until he sees how the Cavs handle things with Kyrie.
In other words: The Cavs are bleeped.
Dan Gilbert, take a bow. Because lost in that epic presser he gave a few weeks ago — where he tried clowning the Pacers for their Paul George trade and introduced not just new GM Koby Altman but everybody from the head of player personnel to the janitor in an effort to prove that his franchise really wasn’t that dysfunctional — was Gilbert explaining how in one offseason he went from playing for the NBA Title to essentially opening next season a dead man walking. Because we don’t need to play all 82 to know how this one goes. With Bron on a plane. Derrick Rose broken down. And a team that played for the Larry O’Brien in 3-straight years imploding before our very eyes.
And make no mistake: This isn’t on LeBron. And it’s not on Kyrie. It’s on Gilbert. For throwing away a GM in David Griffin that LeBron respected. For signing off on a roster with aging and expensive spare parts and a luxury tax bill that’s one of the worst in the league. And for creating a culture that makes a 25-year-old point guard who gets to play with one of the best to ever lace them want to catch the first flight outta town to San Antonio, New York, Minnesota — hell, basically ANYWHERE but Cleveland.
LeBron did his job. He brought a title back to Cleveland. But Gilbert didn’t do his — sitting out one of the biggest off-season’s ever, failing to make a deal for Jimmy Butler or Paul George — hell, even for Melo — before settling for a broken down Derrick Rose,who was so radioactive that he was willing to sign a one-year deal for basically 1/10th of what he made last year, treating the Cavs like some kind of slumpbuster.
And now Cleveland’s only got one choice: Ride it out. Because if LeBron leaving, again, is inevitable, you may as well sit back and enjoy it. Because, he’s just going to do what he’s always done; not let anyone in, or give anyone any idea what he’s going to do until the very last moment. And throw in a few subtweets along the way, and training vids on the gram, before ripping the rug yet again, and coming to live out his final NBA days in Laker gear.
But again, this isn’t on him. It isn’t on LeBron to convince Dan Gilbert that he’s worth keeping, it’s on Gilbert to convince LeBron the Cavs are still worthy of him. And given what Gilbert has done this offseason, he’s already given up. He’s not even going to bother recruiting LeBron. He doesn’t care what his superstar thinks: not if he’s breaking off the GM without even telling LeBron about it first. Not if he’s bringing in Derrick Rose instead of Paul George or Jimmy Butler.
Does he sound like a guy doing everything he can to keep LeBron? Or doing everything but telling him not to let the door hit on the way out. You’ve seen this movie, Cleveland; and you know how it ends. Horribly. With LeBron leaving and Gilbert rushing in to blame him, while promising he’ll win another ring before LeBron ever does.
So, get your popcorn ready and enjoy the show, because LeBron has the hammer again, and he’s going to use it to smash y’all in the face with it … again all the while thinking about how great it will be to live and work in L.A. FULL TIME.