The Cavaliers are unraveling before our eyes. Saturday night’s 120-88 loss to the Rockets dropped Cleveland to 0-8 in their last eight nationally televised games and 6-12 over their last 18 games, putting them perilously close to losing home court in the first round.
The defense remains a disaster, ranking 28th in the NBA with a defensive rating of 109.4, which is barely better than the Kings and Suns. The Rockets’ loss highlighted the Cavs’ defensive woes on the national stage once again, with six players in double figures and 28 assists on 44 made baskets in the rout.
After the game, the questions persisted about whether Cleveland needed to make a change. The answer is obviously yes, but despite an endless supply of trade rumors, the Cavs have failed to do anything as we approach Thursday’s trade deadline. LeBron James was clearly dejected following the loss, noting he was at a “loss for words” and that the Cavs should be taken off of national television for the rest of the season.
LeBron, who has in the past not been shy in applying pressure to the front office to make a move, also refused to bite on a question about what the Cavs need to do as the deadline creeps ever closer.
“That’s not a question for me,” James said. “I show up to work every day. I bust my tail every day. I’m one of the first ones to get to the gym and one of the last ones to leave. I do my part. I control what I can control and that is what I cannot control. … I control what I can control, I don’t know. … Well that’s two different questions, as far as me being a player and trying to fix things, I think we have to play better obviously. But the question he asked was from a GM perspective. I’m not a GM. I don’t make those calls. That’s not my job, so I can’t control that.”
That’s a far cry from a year ago when James was actively campaigning for the Cavs to bring in more help, which makes one wonder whether James sees this team as a lost cause. There isn’t one clear deficiency for this year’s team that they could upgrade, like last year at the point guard spot behind Kyrie Irving, but many holes and many issues that can’t be clearly fixed. James can’t simply point to “bring me point guard help” like last year and it would be a pretty bad look for him to say “trade everyone,” which might be the only solution.