Back in July, the city of Cleveland was reunited with its superstar as LeBron James signed a lucrative two-year, $42 million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. James likely signed for just two seasons on purpose, as he’ll be able to demand more money once the new NBA television deal passes, but the short contract also allows King James to abandon ship if things in Cleveland get ugly.
Although King James indicated to Sports Illustrated that he wants to stay in Ohio for the rest of his career, the Cavs acted quickly to make a long-term contract more enticing.
On August 23rd, Cleveland officially acquired Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for two number one overall draft picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. As good as Wiggins and Bennett could end up being, Kevin Love’s nearly unparalleled talent and basketball IQ means Cleveland will unquestionably have two superstars. As NBA writer James Herbert explains, Love is “top-five, maybe even top-four in the league.”
Still, things haven’t exactly gone the Cavaliers’ way. On Nov. 4, the team was blown out by the Portland Trail Blazers 101-82. James was especially frustrated with the team’s struggles, even going so far as to exchange words with teammate Kyrie Irving.
“There’s a lot of bad habits, a lot of bad habits been built up the past couple years,” James said after the exchange with Irving. “When you play that style of basketball, it takes a lot to get it up out of you.”
Irving, and the rest of the Cavaliers, have refused to share the ball. When they faced the Utah Jazz last Wednesday, the team had assists in only six of their 30 field goals. According to ESPN, that’s the lowest assist percentage by a LeBron James team in his 12-year career.
“You just can’t explain [the low number of assists],” James said. “There’s no way you’re going to win a basketball game like that, just having six assists.”
Even with just four games played, there are a lot of questions about this young Cavaliers team. Remember however, that when LeBron joined his Heat teammates back in 2010, they too stumbled out to a 9-8 start.
“When you have a lot of new players — particularly a lot of new, very talented players — sometimes it’s a little harder to put together,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt explained.
Perhaps it will take weeks, even months for the Cavs to hit their full stride. But once they do, given their ceiling of talent, Cleveland will be a force to be reckoned with.