The month of January has been a mitigated disaster for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With yet another loss Tuesday night at the hands of the short-handed San Antonio Spurs, the Cavs have now lost 10 of their last 13 contests.
Unbecoming of a LeBron James led team right?
Seems like every year around this time during the dog days of the NBA season that any LeBron James led team seems to go through the motions. Whether its infighting, coaching disagreements or overall team struggles the Cleveland Cavaliers stumble into drama. But every year they have also figured it out. Sure they’ve lost in the Finals two of the last three years to a generational Golden State Warriors team but the Cavs can at least staked claim for Eastern Conference glory.
This year feels different.
They are older. Slower. Boring. Proof is in the statistics. The Cavs are dead last in the league in defensive efficiency. And they no longer have who I used to call their great offensive insurance policy in Kyrie Irving, who last summer requested to be traded away from the franchise. Of course we know the end of that saga which and when Irving’s wish was granted in a late summer trade to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and the Celtics 2018 first round pick (which is actually on the predicated on the Brooklyn Nets).
Here’s the bottom line with the Cavaliers. They are maxed out. There are literally no band aid moves to make. They are stuck. Even the most minor of moves may not solve their bigger issues. There is no quick cure for what ails them. And that’s already recognizing that they do have the best player in the world on their roster.
The only realistic trade chip they have left on the table is forward Kevin Love. They must use it ASAP.
This is not a knock on Love in the slightest. He is actually having a really good season, averaging 18.4 points and 9.4 rebs a contest. But when you consider the overall scope of this franchise, the Cleveland Cavaliers may look drastically different at this very time next year. LeBron James impending free agency decision is looming over the franchise this July and thus far there has been no clues that LeBron intends on staying beyond this summer.
The Cavs can feasibly use the Boston pick as trade bait as well, but in my opinion that would be foolish given that if LeBron James were to actually leave this summer the draft pick would be their biggest asset to rebuilding. They need to hold on to that draft pick for dear life.
Kevin Love is the only viable trade asset on this team. No one in the league wants Tristen Thompson, who’s currently stuck in the muck of a Kardashian curse with his current relationship with Khloe Kardashian. Both JR Smith and Iman Shumpert have little to zero trade value at this time and are very expensive. Isaiah Thomas is currently playing in a contract year so the only value he would have to a team at this time is an expiring contract. Of course you are not trading LeBron James. No one is that stupid.
Trading Kevin Love is the team’s only option.
Now all these talking points can obviously become moot by April or May if the Cavs turn their season around. But in the present this team looks like it is as vulnerable as it has ever been. Teams like the Celtics and the Toronto Raptors who seem to be serious Eastern Conference contenders are salivating at the chance to dethrone the current Eastern Conference kings.
The next few weeks and months are going to be some compelling times in Northeast Ohio.
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