The More Things Change...
I was officially out on the Cleveland Cavaliers. They were done. There was no pulse, the only signs of life were the leaks of locker room dissent and players only meetings. They were mere death rattles surely. If direct quotes from unnamed "veteran players" were not enough, then body language told the tale on a nightly basis. And then the trade deadline happened.
The Cavs decimated what was their roster indiscriminately, very much in the manner of the helicopter scene in The Godfather III: over the top, gratuitous, too much. It was that scene, in many critics' eyes, that kept the movie from being credible. In the case of the Cavs, today's trade deadline bloodbath was incredible.
I have always said that LeBron James could make it to the NBA Finals with any group of misfits. The team he woke up with today could not have gotten there. They were done. There would be a new Eastern Conference Champion. These Cavs had a clear divide in the locker room, between what has been labelled "the new guard" and "the old guard". There was open warfare being purposefully leaked to the press daily. Too many players had tasted that Championship champagne. Too many players had signed that big money deal. LeBron refused to commit to signing with the team when he becomes a free agent this summer. Kyrie Irving was long gone. Lebron was "cussing out at least two executives". I could go on, but i think that will suffice.
And so I started the day ready to write about Boston, ready to write about Toronto. But, as Jalen Rose would tell us:
Where to even start? Here are all the guys the Cavs got rid of: Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and Jae Crowder. I told you it was a slaughter.
And the guys they brought in: Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
I'm not going to break all these moves down. I am simply here to say that the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to win the Eastern Conference Finals again. I repeat: LeBron James could make it to the NBA Finals with any group of misfits. Maybe not the ones he woke up with this morning, but by the time he goes to sleep tonight, he will have the newest batch ready to go.
NBA trade deadline day is a day for refreshing. Fans, players, GMs spent the day refreshing their Twitter feeds over and over. The Cleveland Cavaliers refreshed their roster over and over. Expect to see LeBron playing in his 8th straight NBA Finals. The NBA landscape has changed, and its never been more the same.
And just for fun, here's LeBron bidding IT farewell (or as he likes to call him "Zasa")