The Quagmire In Cleveland

The Cavaliers’ season was born in the chaos of Kyrie Irving’s departure and unless something drastic happens pretty soon it looks like it will end in chaos. As loss after loss piles up, another NBA title seems to be nothing more than a pipedream and with free agent-to-be LeBron James refusing to say he’ll be back next season, the summer could be even worse.

Think about how it would feel to own a futures ticket – any futures ticket – on Cleveland right about now. How can the Cavs even begin to think about beating the Warriors or Rockets when they can’t even take care of business against the flotsam and jetsam in the Eastern Conference?

Fact is, the Cavs have been dead money all season long. Heading into this week’s play Cleveland has covered the spread only 14 times in 51 games – an historically bad number for a team that is still nine games over .500 and ostensibly remains in the race for the best record in the East.

Cleveland’s problems have ranged from age (J.R. Smith) to ineffectiveness (Tristan Thompson) to inability to fit in (Isaiah Thomas) to injury (Kevin Love) to a confused and emasculated coach (Tyronne Lue) to an aging superstar who seems to have lost interest (you know who). Fans are not even sure what they want – some demanding that the team trade the high draft pick obtained from Boston in the Irving deal for an immediate quick fix and others assuming that James will walk and urging immediate rebuilding steps.

Thirty or so games remain for the Cavs to fix their problems, not the least of which is a defense which takes quarters, halves and entire games off with alarming frequency. Lue says effort is a major problem and no one on the roster seems to take much issue with that.

It all adds up to a steaming pile of No. 2 for a team which only a few years was No. 1 in the NBA and up until six weeks ago had expectations of making it back to The Finals for the fourth straight time. The Cavs have always prided themselves on being able to push the reset button when things went south. They’ll have to dig extra deep to do it again.

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