Pencilstorm Exclusive! We’ve received a transcript of the latest Cavs team meeting. No, not the infamous one from a couple weeks ago. Nope, this is from a very recent meeting that someone from LeBron’s production team hasn’t even leaked yet.
Scene: The Cavs practice facility. Several players listlessly stand around. Although this mirrors his defensive drills, Ty Lue is nowhere to be seen. Neither is any member of the Cavs management. Save for one. He stands up in the center of the room and calls the meeting to order.
LeBron James: Men, the great and ancient Roman king dude in Gladiator, Marcus Aurelius, once said: Do not ask what LeBron will do next offseason, ask what you can do to help LeBron win this season. For all men must perish but it is the days that they live that determine if they will be remem-
Random 5th Grader: [interrupts] Yo, yo, wait, is Kevin Love really injured? Man, I’ve faked injuries before when it looked like my team was gonna get swept and this feels just like that.
[The 5th Grader is revealed to be none other than Isaiah Thomas.]
Everyone else in room: [eyes roll simultaneously]
Kevin Love: I feel like I should say something to defend myself or LeBron will be mad at me again. But I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can contribute and make this team better. You know what? Maybe trading me is the best move right now. Here, [unfolds a piece of paper], here’s a list of teams I wrote out. I’m a West Coast guy with ties to Portland and L.A. so I prefer that, but any big city wouldn’t be bad. I can’t play for a bunch of weeks anyway, why not trade me for someone that can help now? [crosses his fingers behind his back]
Derrick Rose: I love taking weeks off. Where’s this West Coast? Sounds Spanish. Do they like Adidas?
Isaiah Thomas: Rose, you dummy. You can’t come to a new team and then just say whatever you want out of turn as if you’ve earned the right to do that.
JR Smith: Even I have more self-awareness than this.
Iman Shumpert: [practicing 25 foot fadeaways] I don’t.
LeBron: [Simply stares ahead with no expression. A single tear runs down his face.]
Isaiah: Man, people on this team literally crying and they say I’m the one that doesn’t care just because I’m calling out y’alls lack of effort and selfishness. Why is everyone blaming me and saying I’m self-centered when I’m just pointing out how everyone else is probably making me look bad. I can’t do everything, I’m only 5 foot 9.
Channing Frye, Kyle Korver: [make eye contact with LeBron] Can we?
[LeBron nods back. Korver and Frye take Thomas by the ears and gently place him in Tristan Thompson’s bejewelled, fur-lined purse. The purse is then carried to Dan Gilbert’s office and placed next to his Trade Suggestion Box]
[The meeting ends now.]
It’s obvious to most people that the Cavs are not playing well. Their defense is especially offensive and they’re getting embarrassed by good teams. The trade deadline is a few days away (Thursday, February 8th at 3pm EST) and all eyes will be on the Cavs. There’s growing favorability for the once laughed-at opinion that the Cavs would not make it out of the Eastern Conference. Here’s a few thoughts on the rumored moves Cleveland could and should make.
Isaiah Thomas - I was not aware of the character issues that are now evident in the Cavs newest star. Last year it seemed Boston loved him, he was much celebrated, and no matter how you look at it, nearly 30 points per game from a 5’9" guy is pretty impressive. But there have been signs:
Thomas has worn out his welcome at every stop in his relatively short 8 year career. It’s evident that even with impressive stats, the teams he’s been on didn’t see him as part of their future. He’s been traded from Sacramento, Phoenix, and Boston. It didn’t look like Boston’s Danny Ainge had any intention on giving Thomas the kind of money he was seeking and after a hip injury, those chances were lessened considerably.
Boston’s luck has turned around something fierce since 2001 and Ainge got a gift that would set his team up for championship contention for the next decade when he was able to center Thomas in a package that netted him arguably the East’s best point guard in the Cav’s Kyrie Irving.
But even more so than that, Thomas’ recent comments to the media were eye-opening. Full of pointing fingers and deflecting blame, both behind the scenes and in public, Thomas displayed the type of character that is anathema to any winning organization. Winners look within. (Source: Pat Riley). Accountability, responsibility, and effort cannot be compromised and Thomas has exemplified the opposite.
Of course any story about the Cavs centers around LeBron. It’s pretty much LeBron and everything else. Dan Gilbert’s situation (which he put himself in) is this: He’s messed up the LeBron extension at least for now. It seems more and more likely every day that LeBron is LeGone and he couldn’t keep Kyrie either. He might see Isaiah’s stats and think he might be a marketable star that maybe Cleveland should invest in but that’s not gonna sit well with the Cleveland faithful that have very much turned on him.
Thomas doesn’t seem fully recovered from the hip injury that kept him out until recently, and now, even if Gilbert wanted to trade him, teams (at least smart ones) are not going to want to give up much for such a questionable player. Especially one that will be a free agent this summer.
So much for that Kyrie trade being somewhat fair. Danny Ainge embarrassed the Cavs with that one. I think the Cavs should hope a playoff-contending team wants to give up a lesser piece maybe with a draft pick(s) in exchange for Thomas, who can still be a great scorer off the bench.
However, I don’t think the Cavs trade him unless they get a bigger name and will just hope he can work his issues out. Jordan Clarkson, the Lakers 6th man, has been rumored to have the Cav’s interest and although he’s a weak defensive player, he’d probably be a much welcome respite to Cavs fans. Think a better Ramon Sessions with decent upside.
DeAndre Jordan - There have been heavy rumors that the Cavs and Clippers are interested in a trade. The Clippers probably want the Cavs’ Nets pick which creates their next conundrum. If LeBron isn’t staying, shouldn’t they keep that likely lottery pick in a very deep draft? And on the other hand, if trading that pick might increase the chance LeBron stays, should they waste it on the likes of DeAndre Jordan?
Jordan would be a big upgrade to whatever the Cavs are trying to do at center but how much could he really fix their defense? And it’s not like he’s a major force on the offensive end outside of alley oops and dunks. He might be a poor man’s Dwight Howard on that end.
Dealing for Jordan is kind of like making a move just to say you did something. Who knows how positive an impact he’ll have. The Cavs shouldn’t trade that Brooklyn pick unless they get at least a young, star player.
Kevin Love - Love was apparently almost traded before the season started. Pretty sure Kevin Love didn’t really care either way. I would be more surprised to see Kevin Love sign an extension with the Cavs than I would be to see the Browns win the Super Bowl next year. (Okay, maybe win 4 games.) But with Love being out a month and a half, what kind of team would want to trade for him?
Surely not a team that’s currently playoff contending and needs a push over the edge. I do see teams that maybe want a star for next year being interested in bringing in Love. I also see Love having interest in Portland where he grew up and went to high school, and Los Angeles where he was born and went to college.
But down in Orlando, it looks like the Magic are somewhat intent on trading Aaron Gordon (who’s having a career year) ahead of his restricted free agency coming up. That would not be a bad move for the Cavs future but I see the Cavs sticking with Love at least until this postseason ends.
I do see a potential trade coming up after the season ends that might make sense for both sides. That's Kevin Love going to Portland in exchange for Northeast Ohio product, C.J. McCollum. Blazers throw in that expensive Evan Turner contract and Cleveland now has a couple guys that might want to stay in town.
One player that just became available and that I think the Cavs should pick up, is Tony “Grit and Grind” Allen who just got traded to the Bulls in the Nikola Mrotic deal. That guy knows grit, grind, and defense. Cavs need that in spades and Allen can light a fire.
The Cavs also need another ball-handling point guard which makes it hard for them to trade Isaiah Thomas without getting one in return. But Ricky Rubio is apparently not fitting in Utah and he’s a pretty good defender and incredible passer that would be better than Thomas in Cleveland.
So the Cavs would love to get rid of Thomas but have to save face because of the Kyrie deal which means they need to get something big in return. It also seems like they want to get rid of the J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson contracts but may need to throw in the Brooklyn pick to do so. Not an enviable position when you have unrealistic hopes of keeping the greatest star your franchise has ever known.
My prediction: The Cavs keep the Brooklyn pick but make at least one trade that will not go over very well with the fans. But if they get something for Thomas, especially if they somehow send him to Orlando for Gordon, they can save some face.