In the same week that Paul Simon announced his farewell tour, the Cleveland Cavaliers are experiencing Troubled Waters. But who, if anyone, can be the bridge that leads them to a return trip to the Eastern Conference Finals?
The Cavs displayed a blatant lack of defense and aggression in a 116-98 loss at Orlando on Tuesday night. After leading by 16 at halftime, the Cavs were outscored 65-31 the rest of the way including a paltry 9 points in the 4th Quarter.
Head Coach Tyron Lue exited the sideline in the 2nd Quarter in what has been referred to as food poisoning, a foreshadowing of the ills that would befall his team in the 2nd Half. It seemed as if the Cavs hit the Disney all-you-can-eat buffet at halftime because they repapered from the tunnel a sluggish, somnambulant, and all-together disjointed unit.
In a post-game interview PG Isiah Thomas didn’t exactly retreat into The Sound of Silence alluding to the fractured nature of a team by telling reporters, “When adversity hits, we go our separate ways.” Thomas, who has been critical of his teammates after returning to the floor just weeks ago, went 3-13 from the floor, and seemed to be passively admonished by decreasingly Homeward Bound LeBron James after James threw an errant pass into the Orlando stands.
After the game, James reiterated his statement about not waiving his no-trade clause as the NBA backs into the trade deadline on Thursday with the following: “I’m here for the long-haul, I’m here for this season right now to try to figure out ways to compete… I couldn’t give up on my teammates like that.” (h/t espn.com) With James not committed to a long-term deal in Cleveland, the Cavs’ front-office cannot mortgage it’s 1st Round Pick (and future) from the Brooklyn Nets in order to save this sinking ship- there may only be 1 Way to Leave Their Lover (James).
If LeBron wants to return to Graceland, it is clear that it will not be with the Cavaliers unless he gets the help he wants owner Dan Gilbert to pursue. The Cavs are currently sitting in the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs (going 6-13 since Christmas Day) behind James’ “buddy” and 2018 All-Star teammate Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors respectively.
Possible trades that could bolster and pump new life into this roster include perpetually shirtless J.R Smith and Tristan Thompson (obviously with his mind on his impending newborn while turning in a respectable 12-9 performance against the Magic) for a rim protector ala Los Angeles Clipper DeAndre Jordan. The fact is, if the Cavs want to win with LeBron, ownership will have to sacrifice a King’s Ransom (sorry) and if they let LeBron leave after next season, Gilbert’s valuation of the Cavs will likely sink Like A Rock.
For now, James is in total control it would seem, with Diamonds on the Soles of His Shoes (Nikes to be exact) while the rest of the NBA and fans alike await his encore.
Celtics Pick Up Options on Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Guerschon Yabusele
Brown’s fourth-year option guarantees his $6,534,829 cap charge for next season, while Tatum will be locked in for a $7,830,000 cap hit for the 2019-2020 season, both moves considered to be no brainers given their development.
The decision on Yabusele, who hasn’t shown much of anything over 38 games since joining Boston, is a bit more of a surprise, but the Celtics see something in his to warrant their decision to keep him a part of their team moving forward.
Celtics’ Aron Baynes Ruled Out for Game Against Magic
The Boston Celtics will take the court for Monday’s game against the Orlando Magic without the services of center Aron Bynes, who has been officially ruled out due to a hamstring injury, the team officially announced.
Baynes suffered the injury during Saturday’s game against the New York Knicks, a game that saw him get the start for the first time this season, but was only able to play in just 12 minutes of action before the second quarter injury.
Baynes plays in a reserve role behind Al Horford and has scored 7.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game thus far this season.
Celtics’ Terry Rozier Rejected Contract Extension Offer
Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier rejected a contract extension from the team that would have paid him roughly $12 million annually, according to a report from A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.
Rozier’s decision to decline the contract offer was a decision made by him and his management team.
“I’m in a great situation,” Rozier said, according to NBC Sports Boston. “My team felt it wasn’t good for me to sign an extension right now. It opens my options a little bit, but I’m focused on what’s happening right now.”
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