The Cleveland Cavaliers are in turmoil. Their loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night was their fourth straight, and they’ve managed to win just two out of their last 10 games leading to some growing discontent within the locker room. Their porous defense has been a lingering issue all season, but during their most recent skid, they’ve also ranked among the worst teams in the league on the other end of the court as well.
The latter is a particularly sore spot for the Cavs, who traded away one of the best scorers in the league last summer in Kyrie Irving and in return got an injured Isaiah Thomas, who is only now playing his way back into game shape. In short, it’s been the source of a lot of second-guessing.
Regarding Irving’s trade demand, there are competing philosophies on how to deal with his particular brand of malaise from an organizational standpoint. The San Antonio Spurs, for instance, faced a similar situation with LaMarcus Aldridge last summer, who likewise asked to be traded. But the Spurs stood their ground, with Gregg Popovich showing a willingness to alter his approach to better showcase Aldridge’s talents.
It was a different scenario for the Cavs, but there have been a lot of questions lately about whether the front office acquiesced to Irving too quickly and perhaps should’ve put more effort into making things work. According to a new report, that’s exactly what LeBron James wanted to happen at the time. Via Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
There was excitement in Cleveland for the pieces the Cavs got in the Irving trade. But as the season has unfolded, second-guessing has been developing. James himself was publicly supportive, but it is no secret within the organization that he was against trading Irving after the demand (and well before the now-famous Arthur tweet). It’s fair to wonder what might’ve happened had the Cavs simply told Irving, who was under contract for two more years, they weren’t trading him, as the Spurs held the line with Aldridge.
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