Things are going well in Cleveland these days.
Even though LeBron and company are still sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference, the team is in a serious funk. They’ve only won five of their last fifteen games, including losses to supposed rivals like the Golden State Warriors (twice), the Boston Celtics, the Toronto Raptors, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and even the San Antonio Spurs.
While they can still beat the bottom feeders of the NBA easily enough, there are serious doubts that this Cleveland team can challenge for another NBA title. They might not even make it out of the second round of the playoff, at this rate.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, one player (who wanted to remain anonymous) said the locker room is in disarray.
“I had a player tell me when we were in San Antonio (last Tuesday) that it’s the worst it’s ever been,” ESPN’s Dave McMenamin said Monday on “The Hoop Collective” podcast.
It sounds like the loss of Kyrie Irving is hurting the Cavs harder than anyone thought it might, as Isaiah Thomas struggles to regain his form as one of the most exciting guards in the league after missing the first half of the season through injury.
“The last three years, the guys in that locker room felt like they had the best team. Or if not the best team, a team that certainly had enough to beat any other team,” McMenamin said. “And that was because they had two top players in LeBron and Kyrie Irving. And by taking Kyrie Irving away and adding a player in Isaiah Thomas, who is not the same guy he was – maybe someday he will be that guy again, but he’s not that guy right now – it’s kind of driving these guys crazy.”
The unnamed Cavs player isn’t the only one speaking out. There have been previous leaks of Cleveland players telling reporters that the team can’t possibly win a championship in their current state, teammates accusing Kevin Love of faking sick to get out of playing the remainder of a blowout lost, and LeBron James making public comments about how hard this year has been.