LeBron James is falling in the NBA Finals with the Cavaliers team that he built, writes Dave Hyde of The Sun-Sentinel. It was James’ decision to leave Miami for Cleveland two years ago because he saw a franchise with younger talent, Hyde notes, and he pushed for the deal that sent Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota for Kevin Love. James also approved the trade with New York that brought J.R. Smith and supported the hiring of Tyronn Lue, who had no previous experience as a head coach. Cavs managment has given James everything he wanted since his return, Hyde writes, saying it shows the danger of letting a player make too many personnel decisions.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- James’ desire to have Love as a teammate instead of Wiggins shaped the Cavaliers‘ destiny, contends Shaun Powell of NBA.com. Wiggins’ defensive prowess would have been much more valuable against the Warriors, Powell argues, noting that he is also capable of creating offense with his dribble, in contrast to Love, who has settled into a role as a 3-point shooter since he arrived in Cleveland. Wiggins also could have eased the Cavaliers’ financial burden with a rookie contract instead of the maximum deal that Love got last summer.
- The Cavs’ bench has been letting them down in the finals, points out Marc Berman of The New York Post. Channing Frye, who was acquired in a February deal with the Magic, only has two points in the series. Iman Shumpert has been held to 11. Love came off the bench to score 11 in Game 4, but the rest of the reserves combined for just four points. Berman says depth will need to be the focus of Cleveland’s offseason moves.
- New Pacers coach Nate McMillan will keep Dan Burke and Popeye Jones as part of his staff, tweets Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. Agness says McMillan seems to have decided on a third assistant, but no announcement has been made.
- The Pistons may concentrate on power forwards with the 18th pick in the draft, writes David Mayo of MLive. Detroit traded that pick to Houston for Donatas Motiejunas in a February deal that was later rescinded, so it’s clear that Pistons management recognizes the need for help at the four spot. Mayo lists Michigan State’s Deyonta Davis, Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis, Marquette’s Henry Ellenson and Kansas’ Perry Ellis as four possibilities.