This summer has been a weird one for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They came painfully close to landing Paul George, but ended up settling for Jeff Green and Jose Calderon. There’s still a chance for a Carmelo Anthony trade, but the Houston Rockets appear to be the clear front-runner. And the team still hasn’t named a full-time general manager and LeBron James is a free agent in a year.
With all these factors, feeling some concern is normal no matter what your affiliation with the team is. We’ve already heard that James is concerned with the direction of the franchise, now Kyrie Irving has spoken out about the situation the team is in.
Irving’s comments came at Sports Illustrated’s Fashionable 50 event in L.A. on Tuesday. He was asked how different the team could look in a couple years considering the pending free agency of both James and himself in the next two years:
“Like I said, we're in a peculiar place," Irving said. "The best thing we can do is handle things with class and professionalism. Obviously we have a great owner that's willing to spend a little money on guys that he believes in. At this point, we just see what happens throughout the summer.”
First of all, I got a chuckle out of the “spend a little money on guys that he believes in” part. I don’t think this was a shot at the David Griffin situation, but it certainly could be taken that way.
There’s still a lot of time left in this summer, but it’s clear that to this point it’s been a failure. Change for the sake of change isn’t the right move, but the gap between the Cavs and the Warriors has at best stayed the same or grown depending on who you ask. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades so the teams efforts to acquire Paul George were for nothing.
The possibility of James leaving is frightening, but the most likely scenario is that he remains with the Cavs. Most teams don’t appear to be clearing up cap space for next season, which leads me to believe he hasn’t put many feelers out there. They also can offer him more money than any other team and still have a great team around him. So while a James departure followed by the loss of Irving and/or Kevin Love would be devastating, it’s probably too soon to prepare for doomsday.
There have been several moments over the past three years where James and other players have expressed displeasure with the team. Right now the most important thing is for the franchise to start operating with a clear focus and path. Either grant permanent status to the current front office or appoint a new one. From there at least there will be a consistent voice explaining the decisions made by the team and an established direction.