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LeBron James Told You It Would Be Like This

Let’s face it the Cleveland Cavaliers are not the team you thought they’d be, and that is sort of the problem.

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So insert one Mega-Star to a roster full of self-centered young guys; add in a star from another team that needs a volume of shots to a head coach with no NBA experience., sprinkle in some veterans that played with the Mega-Star on another team , add some injuries and what do you get?

Trash Can Fire.

Let’s face it the Cleveland Cavaliers are not the team you thought they’d be, and that is sort of the problem.

Expectation.

When LeBron James explained his decision to return to Cleveland to Sports Illustrated he was pretty clear about what he thought this season would be.

“I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic,” James said in July. “It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach.”

James saw it. He knew what was going to play out. Now admittedly that was before the team traded for Kevin Love and brought in a bunch of the veterans he played with in Miami.

But James knew.

He knew some other things too. James knew his body wasn’t necessarily right. He spent the off-season dropping weight and trying to lessen the impact his 842 regular season NBA games has had on his now 30-year old body. James had played more than 14,700 minutes of basketball in the four years since his last stop in Cleveland. His problematic knee was problematic last year. His back was bothersome too.

The first suggestion anyone who’s had a back or knee injury is told is get some weight off it. That’s impacted how LeBron plays; you can see it on a night to night basis.

His team hasn’t exactly helped him either. The Cavs bench is anemic most nights. Through 32 games the Cavs bench has produced just 25.5 points per game ranking them 27th in the NBA. They also have the worst differential in the NBA at -13.9, meaning the bench is routinely being outscored by a whopper of a margin.

There has been a lot of talk about rookie head coach David Blatt, but the truth is the Cavaliers were not going to get a better coaching candidate unless they went into the retread bin and that may or may not have worked any better. Blatt’s resume as a coach says he’s a winner. Has it been a smooth operation in Cleveland – hardly, but when you combine the massive expectations heaped on Blatt’s plate, the roster he is working with a superstar that’s not playing exactly his best basketball things are going to be rocky.

The Cavaliers are not a very god team right now and there is sort of panic setting in around them. The important part of that is “around them”.

LeBron knew what this season would be. He told you.

It takes time to build a perennial contender and unlike his four-year stop in Miami, the group of guys LeBron is working with now are significantly further back in the development curve than it was when the Big Three came together in Miami. All of those guys had tons of playoff experience; all understood what needed to happen to win and win big and most importantly there was a system and a process in place from Day One.

The Cavaliers don’t have that working in their favor nearly as well as Miami did in 2010.

Maybe Blatt isn’t the right coach. That’s a real possibility.

Maybe the idea of Kevin Love isn’t nearly as effective as it was attractive in the off-season.

Maybe the bench guys that were supposed to bring experience are simply too old to be helpful.

Maybe injuries have gotten the best of the Cavs.

Those are all real and legitimate possibilities.

But what’s also real is LeBron knew what he was signing up for. As much as everyone wants to panic about where the Cavaliers find themselves at 18-14 on the season; keep in mind the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, that didn’t change anything are sitting at 20-14 and no one there is talking about firing the coach or their dysfunctions.

Just because a roster looks good on paper doesn’t mean it will be. A glance around the NBA will show you that the teams that have been through the trenches together tend to play better than the ones that haven’t and while the expectations for the Cleveland Cavaliers were set really high, this year wasn’t supposed to be their year – LeBron told you so.

LeBron isn’t going anywhere this summer. He told you that too.

However because he is LeBron and the expectations that surround him are always so great, the noise won’t stop until the Cavs are what others expect them to be, which basically means the noise won’t stop.

Get used to it, that’s life in LeBron James’ world, after all he is The King right?

LeBron knew what this season would be. He told you. The problem is nobody really wanted to listen.

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.

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