Lebron James. Man, is that guy bummin’. Take a look at him against the Rockets last night.
That wound up being a 120-88 Rockets win. James scored 11 points and the Cavs dropped to 0-8 in nationally televised games this season, which is rapidly turning to dust.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has a dive into the situation, and Windhorst explains that the Cavs are a debacle because James and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert can’t seem to agree on who should and shouldn’t be on the Cavs.
James (11 points, 3 of 10 field goals) is completely dispirited. Never before in his career has he played like this. Maybe on the occasional midseason evening he has been less than energetic — in the past, he has called it “chill mode” — but never like this.
Since the end of the NBA Finals last season, James has watched as Jimmy Butler, Paul, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin have been traded. None of them were sent to the Cavs. When the Cavs traded Kyrie Irving, the centerpiece of the deal was a draft pick.
So yes, Windhorst concludes, you can see James’ perspective on this. But on the other hand, Windhorst concedes, James is largely responsible for this mess.
Then the Cavs look back and point out James will not commit to them past this season. Point out they tried to get him another star when coming to the brink of a deal for George last summer but stopped when James declined to commit to the franchise. They point out that they have the highest payroll in the NBA and are paying a hideously painful repeater luxury tax. That the team lost $18 million last season because it spent $25 million on luxury taxes.
Dan Gilbert has been here before. He spent wildly, got an old team and traded away a bunch of future picks in 2010 only to see James walk. The result was a miserable rebuilding process that lasted four years and was failing until James stunned them by walking back through the door.
So here we are once again with James the Unsatisfied. It must be frustrating being him. Sure, he was given physical gifts possessed by a tiny handful of men, ever, and he’s been able to boss around his bosses for the majority of his career, and his team has gone way into the luxury tax to surround him with players he wants.
But Kevin Durant gets to play with Steph Curry, and that’s just not fair.
Possibly James will soon leave Cleveland to play in Houston, where he will inevitably find the wine doesn’t excite his refined palate. A team that stacked — if James and Chris Paul can hold off on getting old for another year — might be good enough it doesn’t matter, but after so many go-rounds of this now with James, it’s hard to imagine that or any other hypothetical going off without a hitch. James likes to hold teams captive to his moods, working off that old idea that if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.
His head may be so far up his own butt he doesn’t even realize he’s doing this anymore. Who’s he going to listen to? Me? Dan Gilbert? Kevin Love? Derrick Rose Or his army of yes men?
Lebron needs everyone to know he is upset, as if experiencing an emotion qualifies as some sort of a point. This is not a guy who needs a transaction made at the trade deadline, he’s a guy who needs an alley and an empty soda can he can kick around while he mutters something to himself about Scottie Pippen.