The Cleveland Cavaliers are a complete mess on the court right now and possibly one of the biggest laughing stocks of the NBA this season. Not only are they losing a lot of games, the fact they fired Tyronn Lue over the playing time of veterans and the fact they want to go into full tank mode is disappointing for a fan base that got used to seeing them in the NBA Finals for four straight years with LeBron James.
In a new interview with The Athletic, LBJ opened up about when he knew the ship was crumbling. Apparently, he was floored when they traded Kyrie Irving and told Cavs general manager Koby Altman not to ship him out of Cleveland.
This is what he said about the trade:
“Everyone knows that when Kyrie got traded it was the beginning of the end for everything. It’s not a secret”
It all went down when he was at an autograph signing, where Coach Lue handed him a phone while he was on the phone with Altman and he agreed that trading Irving was wrong. It is to be assumed that owner Dan Gilbert overruled Altman because the trade went through minutes later.
From Kyrie’s side, though:
Irving, in fact, told the Cavs he wanted out so badly he’d go ahead with knee surgery and miss a large portion of the year if he wasn’t traded. James, who did little to try to bridge the divide with Irving, told the Cavs to keep Irving in spite of his threats.
…James felt Gilbert was taking a more active role in basketball decisions and was in effect trying to pivot away from an organizational structure centered on James.
James’ commitment long term was not definite, which probably made Gilbert make moves to prepare for life away from LeBron if he left. All at the same time, LBJ wanted to work out his differences with Kyrie and thought he could.
It feels like the organization, Kyrie and LeBron were all playing chicken but Gilbert made the first move and is now paying the price of dysfunction going on with his team now.
It might be a while until the Cavs get good again.