Out of Cleveland today is a pathetic little story about a group of grown men cynical and savvy enough to use the media for their own purposes, but not courageous enough to talk to their bosses face to face.
Guess what: The Cleveland Cavaliers think they need to make some roster moves if they’re ever going to beat the Golden State Warriors. Lebron wants some help.
Dog Bites Man.
It isn’t pathetic that the Cavs want to see something done at the trade deadline, but the idea that the best way to go about it would be for half the team to hold a tiny exclusive press conference in which they anonymously air their grievances about the rest of the team? That’s the scheme of a clever 8th grader, and those media outlets are under no obligation to play along, although they did.
This is from Cleveland.com:
Multiple marquee Cleveland players spoke without attribution to cleveland.com, ESPN, and The Athletic after the loss to the Warriors, and league sources separately spoke to cleveland.com to describe a sullen and dour atmosphere on a team that a few short weeks ago was toasting in Napa, Calif.
“Rotations are awful. IT (Isaiah Thomas) is so much worse than Kyrie defensively it’s insane,” said a league source. “There is not a great feeling anywhere. They need to limp into the All-Star break and get away from each other.”
Concerns range from a roster (the league’s oldest) that appears ill fit to match up in a seven-game series with the mighty Warriors, who have beaten the Cavs in two of the last three Finals, in seven of the last eight games overall, and are again the NBA’s best team at 36-9.
It’s easy for me to sit here and say these media outlets should have told the Cavs to pound sand, but … these media outlets should have told the Cavs to pound sand. This is not Watergate. If you’ve got a complaint about your basketball team, say it and put your name to it, or else kindly slink back behind your Instagram account and send another meme while the adults talk.
Clearly, ESPN, The Athletic and Cleveland.com have the respect and trust of the Cavaliers, and those things are not earned without great effort and care. Presumably, they learned a lot more about the Cavs in that meeting than they’ve reported, and reporters (for good reason) aren’t in the habit of turning down exclusive access to key sources.
Except the access wasn’t totally exclusive, and it depended on dopey conditions that made the whole thing look like schoolkids passing notes back and forth in class.
Do you like Dan? Circle “Yes” or “No.”
That the Cavs chose to handle this situation in this manner is newsworthy in itself (look at me, writing about it), and their airing of these grievances to more than one reporter created a game of reverse chicken that virtually guaranteed the content of that meeting would be published. I can’t really blame any of these outlets for running these stories. They sorta had to.
Still, it’s no way to live.