LeBron James: "I'm here for this season right now, try …

LeBron James: “I’m here for this season right now, try to figure out ways we can still compete. I couldn’t give up on my teammates like that. I couldn’t do that. I just couldn’t do it. I owe it to my teammates to finish this season out no matter how it ends up. I would never waive my no-trade clause.”

More on Cleveland Cavaliers Turmoil?

There has been no indication publicly that Gilbert wants to trade James, and a team official said last month James was the one player the Cavs absolutely would not deal.
Chris Fedor: #Cavs offensive rating since Kevin Love’s injury: 95.4. With how bad the defense is going to continue to be because of personnel, they can’t cope with that kind of offense.
Josh Robbins: Final: Magic 116, Cavaliers 98. Jonathon Simmons: career-high 34 points. LeBron James: 25 pts., 10 rebs., 5 assts. Magic: 53% on FGAs. Cavs: 43% on FGAs.
The gap between LeBron James and the Cavaliers is widening. As the losses mount and the team’s uninspired efforts persist, July 1 and the start of free agency hangs over this franchise as a day of reckoning. How did we get here? How did James’ storybook return to Cleveland spoil so quickly? Less than four years ago, James was proclaiming “I’m back!” to a packed football stadium on the University of Akron’s campus as fireworks illuminated the night sky. Now this union is in danger of collapsing again. The root of the problems can be traced back to two key issues: David Griffin’s removal as general manager and Kyrie Irving’s subsequent trade to the Boston Celtics.
For the past seven months, the Cavs have been noticeably pivoting away from James’ recommendations. He was vocal both publicly and privately in wanting Griffin to return as GM. Instead, owner Dan Gilbert replaced him days before the draft with Koby Altman, the inexperienced 35-year-old who is widely regarded as not ready for the mammoth task in front of him.
James recruited Jamal Crawford last summer to come to Cleveland, but instead they ignored him and signed rookie Cedi Osman. James told the Cavs not to trade Irving regardless of how disgruntled he appeared. Irving was under team control for two more years, and James was adamant he had no leverage. “Bring him to camp,” James told the Cavs. He was confident he could repair whatever damage Irving felt was done to their relationship. But Irving made clear to Gilbert and the Cavaliers he wanted out of Cleveland because he did not want to play another minute with James, one source told The Athletic. Given how close Irving and James were to the ends of their contracts, the Cavs chose to move Irving while they believed he still had peak value.
The pivot away from James’ wishes has been noticeable, particularly since this is a franchise that since losing him in 2010 has been willing to do — and spend — whatever was necessary to get him back and keep him happy. James and Gilbert have no relationship. Neither do James and Altman, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic. Whereas Griffin would consult with James and keep him informed of major roster decisions, that is no longer happening. James doesn’t trust this front office, and there is no communication now between management and star player. It perhaps played a role in James yelling and cursing at multiple front office executives during the now-famous team meeting a couple of weeks ago that began with players questioning Kevin Love’s absence from a recent practice. Multiple sources confirmed James cursed toward at least two team executives during the heated meeting.
Six years ago, Altman was an assistant coach in the Ivy League. Now he has vaulted from third chair in the Cavs’ front office last season to the man in charge. While the Cavs insist Altman’s duties are no different from Griffin’s job before him, up and down the roster and throughout the organization, the belief is unanimous that Altman is the front man and Gilbert is in full control.
Derrick Williams on the Cavs: They’re just missing the toughness. They’re missing energy and excitement. LeBron will bring that but he can’t do it all himself. There will always be five men on the court. That was a little bit of what I brought to the team last season. I brought energy, effort, efficiency. Right now it feels like there is a little bit of coasting, to be honest. It’s a long season but you can’t get bored of winning. LeBron will never get that way but you never know with other players.

This probably shouldn’t be surprising given the history between LeBron James and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, but it is nonetheless notable as the Cavs try to find their way out of a dark place. In a Monday appearance on the Lowe Post, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski said that he believes the root of all of Cleveland’s dysfunction is the dysfunctional relationship between LeBron and Gilbert. And that that has amplified all of their existing problems, causing cliques to form that divide what’s supposed to be a united locker room.
Adrian Wojnarowski: “I think the LeBron James dynamic with Dan Gilbert issues sort of set the tone in the organization for others to square off. When the two most powerful people in the organization (do it), I think it opens the door for others to have that. The best player and the owner, that sets a tone. I think it only serves to amplify the other issues there. You have a lot of taking of sides, you have a lot of cliques. The guys who’ve been there, the guys who just came in. Certainly what’s gone on with players and coaches and there being a disconnect there. I think it goes back to the Kyrie-LeBron summer and nobody’s ever really done that to LeBron. Nobody’s ever said ‘I don’t want to play with him.’ And somebody said it, did it, acted on it and got out. I think Kyrie said I’m not going to let LeBron dictate my future. Organizations, whether it was Cleveland the first time or in Miami, everybody in the league has had to wait for LeBron to dictate terms. A player said I’m going to dictate it and the team acquiesced and traded him. I think that set the stage for this.”
If the Cavaliers' doomsday scenario is LeBron James leaving this summer via free agency, then what would you call it if they fail to make the playoffs this year? Disaster with a rotten cherry on top? Here's what the Cavs call it: unfathomable. "I mean we're still going to make the playoffs," Lue said. "There's no doubt about that. We're still confident in that for sure."
Now in their fourth season since James returned, is mental fatigue taking a toll on the Cavs? Sam Amick: It’s a whole lot more complicated than the fatigue factor, and it has everything to do with the layers of dysfunction that the Cavs are battling. Cavs general manager Koby Altman is trying hard to shed the contracts of Tristan Thompson (two years, $36 million remaining) and J.R. Smith ($14.7 million next season, team option worth $15.6 million in 2019-20 with $3.8 million guaranteed), two players who were re-signed in large part because of LeBron’s omnipresent influence. They’re all represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who built the agency with a huge assist from James. As it pertains to the Cavs’ interest in the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, a person with knowledge of that situation said Cleveland continues to offer only its own first-round pick and this kind of unwanted money in those stalled negotiations. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
It's dangerous in the NBA to overreact; it gets people fired and it costs people wins, respect and money. The season is long, and that makes it forgiving, which is why anyone who has much experience preaches patience. But the Cleveland Cavaliers are out of time. It's preposterous to say that in February for a team with a history of turning things around and doing it when they have to. However, they are in a preposterous situation. They aren't just looking at losing this season, but they are looking at losing LeBron James. If tomorrow were the beginning of free agency, there's a good chance that would be the case.
The Cavs' players do not trust each other. It appears as if some of them don't like each other. Two of them -- Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye -- were told they'd probably get traded two weeks ago but then weren't. Their coach has been hesitant to shake up the lineup as he has failed to motivate his veteran team. Tyronn Lue's performance has been questioned in recent weeks. His fidelity to playing certain lineups while abandoning others that previously were highly successful is so mystifying that it has launched conspiracy theories. Nonetheless, he is not at the center of the storm. This is all a whirlwind around LeBron James vs. the Cavs' front office, which is to say it's about James vs. owner Dan Gilbert.
LeBron James (11 points, 3-of-10 from the field) is completely dispirited. Never before in his career has he played like this. Maybe on the occasional midseason evening he has been less than energetic -- in the past, he has called it "chill mode" -- but never like this. Looking through his eyes, you can understand why he's frustrated. You can understand why he sometimes feels like the organization hasn't kept the pedal down. When he sees Isaiah Thomas struggling, trying so hard to fight through a devastating injury but having to go so slow that he's hindering the Cavs instead of helping them, he wonders why they traded Irving at all. And why they took the deal with the Boston Celtics, even though they had a chance to back out. James must wonder: If the organization won't go all-in to try to keep the best team around him, would he want to be elsewhere? Would he want to waive his no-trade clause? Instead, he stews.
In the games since, LeBron James' defensive effort has further wilted. His aggression has waned. His frustration has grown. And his leadership, which at times has been controversial in its style but never questioned in its intent, has faded. He is absolutely culpable; his past month has been one of the worst of his NBA life. This comes after the first two months of the season in which he was a leading candidate for MVP. Which makes his erosion all the more clear. And the Cavs are culpable for allowing the trust and the relationship with management to crack. The Cavs know crisis better than anyone -- they've been immersed in it on and off for four years. But this is a different situation. Everyone can feel it.
Chris Paul scored 22 points with 11 assists, Ryan Anderson added 21 points and the long-range Rockets became the latest team to manhandle the Cavaliers on national TV. "They should take us off every nationally televised game for the rest of the season," said James, who spoke softly with a baseball cap pulled over his eyes. "We haven't played good at all and we get our butts kicked every time we play on national television, so I'm at a loss for words."
Chris Fedor‏: #Cavs Dwyane Wade: "There’s no magic dust we’re going to be able to sprinkle on top of it. We played a team that was better than us tonight. We played a team that’s better than a lot of teams. They kicked our butt like they’ve done many. They’re better than us"
Somber wouldn't even describe the mood in the Cavaliers' locker room, where players dressed quietly without any conversation. "Another embarrassing loss," Thomas said. "Something gotta change. I don't know. It was bad from the jump. I don't want to comment too much on it. I need to watch film to see what really went down. It wasn't a good one for us on both ends."
But for one of your All-Stars to be sent home during a game with an illness without telling the rest of the team what was going on? That's…incredible. "They were frustrated that they didn't know about it," said a person familiar with the team's dynamics who corroborated Thomas' account. "It wasn't that Kevin left. It was that nobody addressed the team and said, 'Look, Kevin's not going to be here tomorrow, and this is what's going on.' It's disarray."
A second person with knowledge of the situation told B/R there was no attempt to hide Love's whereabouts or the circumstances surrounding his absence. "I know for a fact that if any of [the players] had asked a single question, the training staff would've told them where he was," the person said.
Brian Windhorst on the Cavs’ lack of communication: “One of the things that I’ve identified with this Cavs team is that I don’t think there’s very good communication within the team, player to player. A lot of times, I really do feel like stuff is left unsaid and one of the reasons you have player meetings boiling over is because people aren’t being honest and open with each other.”
Brian Windhorst of the atmosphere around the Cavs: “[After the championship], I think David Griffin got to smile for maybe two days [and] maybe even less for Dan Gilbert. There is an organizational fatigue. I saw this in Miami too, for sure. By the end of that four-year run, the organization was absolutely, completely devoid of energy. I’ll never forget the NBA Finals loss against the Spurs after Game 5 back in 2014. That’s when [San Antonio] had their revenge series and won, 4-1. Typically the locker room after losing the NBA Finals, it’s a very depressing place. Not only are the players completely gassed, but it’s a huge defeat – a defeat that sits on their permanent record. But that locker room [in 2014], I’ll never forget it, because there was such a sense of relief in there. It almost felt like the last day of school.”

Below are Thomas' thoughts on everything from the team's poor play with him on the court, to his version of what he said to Love and why, to criticisms of his shot selection. "What did you trade me here for? To not shoot? To not find my rhythm? To not be Isaiah Thomas? I can’t be anybody else," he said.
"You called out Kevin this week" “To be real, I didn’t call him out," Thomas said. "I asked him why wasn’t he at the game during the game supporting his teammates. And then after the game, I didn’t ask him because he wasn’t there. So I was seeing where he was. So I didn’t call him out any. So those reports that whoever is saying that, there’s no bad blood between me and him. We go back to fifth and sixth grade. I asked him a question where he was and it was never clarified. And that’s all it was.
Isaiah Thomas explained himself: He says he is shouldering an undue amount of blame for the Cleveland Cavaliers' struggles. "We've been a lowest five [rated] defensive team in the NBA the whole time [this season]," Thomas said after practice Saturday. "So when I come back, it's my fault now. Which, life isn't fair, but that's not fair, bro. At all.”
"To be real, I didn't call him out," Thomas said of Love. "I asked him why wasn't he at the game during the game supporting his teammates. And then after the game, I didn't [get to] ask him because he wasn't there. So I was seeing where he was. So I didn't call him out any. So those reports that whoever is saying that, there's no bad blood between me and him. We go back to fifth and sixth grade [as AAU teammates]. I asked him a question where he was, and it was never clarified. And that's all it was. …”
Isaiah Thomas. "Like, there's nothing between me and Kevin Love. At all. I approached him about his situation, and it went out of house like it shouldn't have been, but it was not nothing bigger than what the world was trying to make it -- like some type of beef between me and him. It's never been that, and I've never been that guy to do that. So to clear all that false whatever, whatever everybody is writing up. That's not cool at all."
Now, it’s Isaiah Thomas’ turn to speak. Thomas has seemingly been at the center of most of what’s gone wrong for the Cavaliers in January -- from a porous defense, to an uneven offense; from calling out Kevin Love in the locker room to Love handing him the ball on the court as though he was a child. Thomas spoke after practice Saturday for the first time in a week, and he had much to say. “We’ve been a lowest five defensive team in the NBA the whole time, so when I come back, it’s my fault now,” Thomas said. “Which, life isn’t fair, but that’s not fair, bro. At all."
Thomas left the locker room after Tuesday’s loss to the Spurs and Friday’s win without taking questions, so, Saturday was his time to respond to, well, everything. Below are Thomas' thoughts on everything from the team's poor play with him on the court, to his version of what he said to Love and why, to criticisms of his shot selection. "What did you trade me here for? To not shoot? To not find my rhythm? To not be Isaiah Thomas? I can’t be anybody else," he said.
"You called out Kevin Love this week" “To be real, I didn’t call him out," Isaiah Thomas said. "I asked him why wasn’t he at the game during the game supporting his teammates. And then after the game, I didn’t ask him because he wasn’t there. So I was seeing where he was. So I didn’t call him out any. So those reports that whoever is saying that, there’s no bad blood between me and him. We go back to fifth and sixth grade. I asked him a question where he was and it was never clarified. And that’s all it was. "So the rebound, I don’t (know). Did he say anything about the rebound?” "Not on the record, no" “And did you see I was smiling right after? Did you see that part? OK then," Thomas said. "Like, there’s nothing between me and Kevin Love. At all.”
Is Isaiah Thomas a bad fit in Cleveland? "I mean, not as well as I want to right now but it’s going to take time," Thomas said. "Like, I’m in a whole new situation. I’m used to having the ball every play. I’m used to making most of the plays. So I got to figure out and this team has to figure out how we can use each other’s strengths and use that as a positive. And it’s going to work out. It just takes some time. And I’m not back to who I am. "So, like, I’m trying to figure out how to play with LeBron James. I’m trying to figure out how to play with Kevin Love. At the same time, trying to get my rhythm back in real, live action. So that’s going to take time. And, I mean, I’m not panicking. I don’t think anybody in this locker room is panicking, but the people outside this locker room. Which is fine, they’re entitled to their own opinion. But one thing about me, I’m going to keep pushing. I’m going to keep grinding. And it will work."

During the Cavs' 115-108 win over Indiana Friday, Love grabbed a rebound and handed it to Thomas. Only, this wasn't the usual handoff from big man to point guard. No casual flip. Rather, Love, who is 6-10, bent over at the waist and placed it in the hands of Thomas (who is 5-9) like an adult handing a child a teddy bear.
Love was not asked in his group session with the media about the play, but there was little doubt, based on several conversations after the game with Cavs players, that he meant what he did. Welcome to another tale of Cavs' dysfunction, which they can't seem to shake even when they win. Among the issues: an apparent rift between Love and Thomas.
The players who went after Love primarily were Thomas and Wade, sources said. Thomas, a two-time All-Star, has not spoken to reporters since that 148-124 loss to the Thunder one week ago, and in his last remarks he said the Boston Celtics played harder and cared more about defense than the players do in Cleveland. Thomas has also been a critic of the Cavs' practice habits.

With the Feb. 8 trading deadline looming the next three weeks will be fascinating, starting with the dead-man-walking Cavs, who were described by one person close to the team as being in "utter chaos." ESPN reported that during a team meeting Kevin Love became yet again the convenient scapegoat. A source told The News that Isaiah Thomas led the charge against Love, who turned up ill for Saturday's embarrassing loss to Oklahoma City and went home after playing just three minutes.
With a contentious team meeting apparently not enough to shake the Cleveland Cavaliers from their extended midseason slump, another loss finally convinced coach Tyronn Lue that it is time to shake up his lineup. "I'm gonna make a change," Lue said after a 114-102 loss to the Spurs on Tuesday. It was the Cavs' 10th defeat in 13 games since Christmas Day.
Beyond the disappointment of Tuesday's loss, the fallout from Monday's discussion blanketed the Cavs locker room at the AT&T Center following the contest. "Everybody wants accountability, but nobody actually wants to be held accountable," one player told ESPN. "The crazy thing is that it still all feels correctable."
Kevin Love: “Did I feel like a target? I think everybody, most people were a target. We’re trying to figure this thing out. People hold themselves to a very high standard on this team, and we’re a team that feels like we can compete at the highest level. For us, it’s not about me. I’m not going to make it about myself. I’m sure with other guys it’s the same thing.”
ESPN Cleveland: Windhorst: I want to make this 100% clear- I have not heard one, single word of Kevin Love being traded. But, if I were Kevin Love- I would question my future in Cleveland and call my agent about getting me out of here. #Cavs
ESPN Cleveland: Windhorst: If I was Kevin Love, I would be pretty upset right now. He has been the ultimate professional. Derrick Rose left the team and was welcomed back with open arms. Love leaves a game sick and is blamed. #Cavs
The Cleveland Cavaliers held a fiery team meeting in the practice facility locker room prior to Monday's practice, during which several players challenged the legitimacy of Kevin Love's illness that led him to leave Saturday's loss to Oklahoma City early and miss Sunday's practice, league sources told ESPN. Several players were pushing for the Cavaliers' management and coaching staff to hold Love accountable for leaving the arena before the end of Saturday's game, and then missing Sunday's practice, league sources told ESPN.
There was a sense that the team was largely accepting of Love's explanation, and that the airing out of issues could have a positive impact on what has become an increasingly fractured locker room. Within factions of the locker room, there has been blame for the Cavaliers' struggles directed at everyone from Love to Isaiah Thomas, to Lue and the front office, led by Altman, and owner Dan Gilbert, league sources said.
Another source told cleveland.com that virtually everyone on the team was called out at some point during the meeting. The Cavs are in near disarray, losers of 10 of the last 14 games. They've lost their last five national TV games by 89 points, and have another one Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs.
Adrian Wojnarowski: In a locker room increasingly full of finger-pointing, Love defended himself and explained his side to teammates, coaches and management, sources said. At end of meeting, there was a sense with some that team had worked out some issues, but that ultimately remains to be seen.
Count Kyle Korver as the latest player -- joining LeBron James, Kevin Love and JR Smith -- to endorse Lue through the team's struggles. "He's got a tough job," Korver said. "He's trying to find lineups that are working, and he's trying to find minutes for everybody. I think he's doing a great job in that regard, as far as getting everybody in the game. Maybe not Channing [Frye], we'd like to get Channing out there a little more, but it's a numbers thing right now. It's tough. Cedi [Osman], we'd like to see Cedi out there more, too. It's tough. There's a numbers thing right now."
Following one of the most inept defensive performances in Cavaliers history, LeBron James said his team looked primed for a short postseason appearance, barring any changes. The Cavs fell 148-124 to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, tying a franchise record for most points allowed in regulation. They are 3-9 since Christmas Day. "Playoffs? We can't even start thinking about that, not the way we're playing right now," James said. "We could easily get bounced early in the playoffs if they started next weekend. Haven't even began thinking about the postseason."
Chris Fedor: #Cavs LeBron James on Ty Lue possibly fired: “I would hope not, but really don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen with our team. I have no idea what conversations have been going on. I’ve been trying to stay as laser-sharp as I can to keep my guys ready to go out & play"
Multiple marquee Cleveland players spoke without attribution to cleveland.com, ESPN, and The Athletic after the loss to the Warriors, and league sources separately spoke to cleveland.com to describe a sullen and dour atmosphere on a team that a few short weeks ago was toasting in Napa, Calif. "Rotations are awful. IT (Isaiah Thomas) is so much worse than Kyrie defensively it's insane," said a league source. "There is not a great feeling anywhere. They need to limp into the All-Star break and get away from each other."
After an uneven start to his comeback from a torn labrum in his right hip, Isaiah Thomas says that his apparent regression his last couple games is not surprising. "I knew it was going to be like this," the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard said after practice Sunday. "I have no legs. So it's going to take some time to get it back, even when I played well those first two games I told Coach (Tyronn) Lue it didn't feel right. It was kind of fool's gold."
Thomas was also asked how LeBron James is handling the team's latest adversity. "He's one of the best leaders I've been around and you learn from that, you learn from a great player like him," he said. "Collectively as a group it can't be all on him. We have to all be a star in our role. Whatever role we have on this team, have to be a star in it, have to put your egos aside. They always say we go through this rough stretch, I don't believe in that. That's all mental.”
LeBron James stepped on the baseline trying to score what could've been the game winner. He caught a desperation pass from Kevin Love inside of 1.4 seconds to go and fired a 3-pointer that hit the rim.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said Friday that he addressed his "agendas" comment with his players. "I'm going to say this and we're going to move forward because it's over," Lue said before the Cavs played the Indiana Pacers. "It's not you're guarding (Victor) Oladipo or I'm guarding Oladipo, we're all guarding Oladipo. It's a team thing. So 'Oh my man didn't score, but he scores.' No, that's not team basketball. We've got to get back to that helping the helper. A guy goes to help and then you help him.”
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue dropped what for him was a bombshell at the end of his post-game press conference when asked if he was concerned about the Cavs’ skid. They are 26-15 at the season’s midpoint. 3. “I never really get concerned,” Lue said. “We’ve got to be better. We know that. But until we play better defensively, I think offensively sharing the basketball, everyone on the same page, and if guys have agendas, we’ve got to get rid of our agendas and play the right way.”
Storyline: Cleveland Cavaliers Turmoil?
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August 8, 2022 | 2:39 pm EDT Update
Durant and Tsai spoke in London on Saturday and sources described the discussion as transparent and professional. The meeting took place a year to the day that Durant agreed to a four-year, $198 million contract extension with the Nets and barely over a month after his initial trade request on June 30. He is now entering the first season of that extension.

Celtics, Raptors, Heat still the main candidates for a Kevin Durant trade

The Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat remain the most significant candidates to acquire Durant, sources said, with Boston’s package centering around All-Star forward Jaylen Brown seen as a viable deal. Tsai and the Nets have made clear privately that they will take every last asset from a team that trades for Durant, sources said.
Multiple 2022 Launchpad finalists have created products in the health and recovery world; Silver even announced that next year’s program will be exclusively focused on player availability, with an emphasis on preventing soft-tissue injuries and developing healthy habits in youth basketball. Through further comments, which touched on everything from planned rest approaches and media-rights contracts to fans’ desire to see their favorite players on the court, Silver’s message was clear: The league will overturn any stone if it means keeping players in the lineup.
Nextiles coats fabric threads with those various materials, sewing them into standard garments and creating what Sun terms “highways” of conductivity that retain full ranges of movement and flexibility. They then relay real-time information to a nearby CPU. One example is a portable, fabric-based form of force plate that Nextiles featured in Las Vegas. Laid out under an athlete’s feet, the surface can be placed anywhere — and it tracks some impressive metrics simply though sewn-in fabrics, including jump height and time in the air; force, impulse and power of the jump; symmetry between legs; and forces applied at different phases of the jump.
August 8, 2022 | 1:43 pm EDT Update