It was hard to imagine how the Cleveland Cavaliers could become more of a mess – until now.
According to the New York Daily News, recent acquisition Luol Deng has been less than impressed with the Cavaliers organization since being brought in from Chicago, while Dion Waiters was kicked out of practice last week. In the same report, it appears that several Cavaliers were out partying the night before the Knicks game (in which they were blown out by 31 points) with the likes of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players, as well as Knicks guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. From the report:
It’s been a true culture shock for Luol Deng since he’s been a Cleveland Cavalier over the past 26 days. Not in a good way, either.
Deng has seen how a team mired in losing since LeBron James left town wrongly caters to its young star players, even as they continue to undermine head coach Mike Brown at almost every turn. In Chicago, where Deng broke in and played nine-plus seasons, there is a winning culture where players are expected to act like professionals and understand that they will suffer the consequences if they step out of line.
As Deng recently told one close friend, “the stuff going on in practice would never be tolerated by the coaching staff or the front office back in Chicago. It’s a mess.”
Also from the report:
There is no accountability, as Dion Waiters found out when he was kicked out of practice last week but still got his usual minutes against the Knicks. Brown isn’t getting much help from GM Chris Grant, who is expected to be fired at season’s end because of the losing and problems in the locker room.
It goes without being said that this isn’t exactly an indicator that things are going well for the Cavaliers (who are losers of three straight and five of their last six). Deng was brought in to help the Cavaliers grow up and be the veteran locker room presence they’ve been sorely missing. If this is an indicator of what the Cavaliers are like right now, then one has to wonder who is in control and if Mike Brown has a grip on the locker room.
This also casts serious doubt onto the future of Waiters and Deng as Cavaliers. Media members such as Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal have been saying for weeks now that Waiters will be traded before the Feb. 20 deadline. As for Deng, his contract is up at the end of the season and it’s hard to see why he’d comeback for another season if his feelings above have been accurately conveyed.
As for Waiters, is it possible that this is the last straw for him? His relationship with Irving is already rumored to be rocky and, while he’s been better on the bench, he hasn’t been consistent game to game. Waiters also has decent trade value, especially compared to other players like C.J. Miles who could be potentially available.
And I’m pretty sure I’m going to be here for a long time. I’m not saying anything to tell the future, but I’m pretty sure the relationship I have with Dan Gilbert and management extends off the court. I enjoy being here.”
Making matters worse, the Cavaliers are four games out of East’s final spot and don’t appear to be playoff quality, despite acquiring Deng and have pieces in place like Irving, Tristan Thompson and others. Still, it appears that the Cavaliers are well on their way to selecting in the lottery again came June.
And with two weeks until the trade deadline, the Cavaliers are going to have to make a choice. They have three options: stand pat, add veterans to try and make a playoff push or blow it all up. Sadly, it’s starting to look like the latter may be the best option and the one that gives the Cavaliers the best chance at long term success.
But do you, the Cavaliers fan, have to say about the Cavaliers latest headache? Let us know in the comments below.