The Cavaliers are in their worst position since LeBron James returned and nobody is sure what’s coming next, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. Dan Gilbert is known as an emotional and reactionary owner, and giving up 148 points to the Thunder on Saturday may push him to make a move. That could be a trade, alterations to the lineup or changes on the coaching staff.
Head coach Tyronn Lue is probably safe because there is no obvious choice to replace him. If Lue is dismissed, assistants Larry Drew and Mike Longabardi would probably follow, and Jim Boylan isn’t viewed as a potential head coach, according to Lloyd. The other assistants, James Posey, Phil Handy and Damon Jones, don’t have the experience to handle a high-profile team like the Cavaliers. Someone outside the organization would be put in a difficult position trying to install a new system in the middle of a season, Lloyd adds.
There’s more news out of Cleveand:
- The Cavs aren’t getting much production from J.R. Smith, but they don’t have a good option to replace him until Iman Shumpert returns from knee surgery, Lloyd adds in the same story. Kyle Korver isn’t an option to start at age 36, and Cedi Osman isn’t a long-term solution. Dwyane Wade began the season as a starter, but has settled into his role as the leader of the second unit. Another problem is the poor play of Jae Crowder, Lloyd writes, which could force Lue to reinsert Tristan Thompson into the starting lineup and put Channing Frye back in the rotation.
- Personnel changes are the only thing that can fix the mess in Cleveland, contends Sam Amico of AmicoHoops. The Cavaliers aren’t as good as they appear on offense, he writes, with poor ball movement and too much one-on-one play that leads to too many 3-pointers. They’re even worse at the other end of the court, with no rim protectors and no strong defenders on the perimeter. “I think it’s tough for us one-on-one [to defend],” Lue said Saturday when asked whether the issue was personnel or effort. “Look at the final score — you score 124 and still lose by 24, that’s tough to swallow.”
- The Cavaliers’ problems haven’t escaped the notice of former coach David Blatt, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. “I hope we don’t give up as many points as Cleveland did last night,” Blatt said before the Turkish All-Star Game.