Connect with us
Home » news » Nba Am Irving Isnt Alone In Cleveland

NBA

NBA AM: Irving Isn’t Alone In Cleveland

Kyrie Irving might be the most talked about player, but he’s not the only one unhappy in Cleveland… Phoenix has to pieces to get Pau Gasol, will the Lakers pull the trigger?

Updated

on

It’s Not Just Kyrie:  By now you have likely heard something about Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving being unhappy. Brian Windhorst of ESPN has written about it. Jason Lloyd of the Beacon Journal wrote about it. The ground has been covered.

The problem is that the story being cast is that Kyrie Irving is unhappy, as if to suggest that he is the only unhappy camper in Cleveland, when the truth is no one in Cleveland is happy with their 16-31 record and that includes ownership.

The Cavs are in the middle what’s best described as a systemic revolt. Last year the team had Byron Scott as their head coach and the lack of defensive intensity soured the locker room on the coach and a change was made. Out went the “player friendly” Scott and in came the tougher more disciplined Mike Brown. The problem is nothing has really changed in terms of harmony in the locker room.

»In Related: Kyrie Irving Talks About His Situation In Cleveland

Young guys that struggled with Scott are struggling with Mike Brown. A team that was all-offensive last year, is trying to be all-defense this year and it’s not working for anyone. Part of that is on the roster. Part of that is on management for bringing in too many duplicated players and that combination has created a selfish, unhappy and almost petulant environment of hot and cold and finger pointing.

Irving is the easy guy to point at because his body language on the court is far from ideal, but second year guard Dion Waiters has had his moments almost as much as anyone else.

First overall pick Anthony Bennett is logging one of the worst performances for a rookie in the modern era and clearly the worst season for a top overall pick.

Everyone involved in the process is trying to say the right things to the media, but the truth is this roster does not work and if change is not made, it is hard to imagine that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is going to allow another year of frustration to possibly ruin his relationship with his franchise player Kyrie Irving.

The Cavs have several fires brewing on several fronts. They had hoped that acquiring Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls would calm the situation and introduce some veteran poise to the roster. That’s has not worked as planned and more and more people around the situation believe that unless the Cavaliers just unload with a max level contract offer that Deng’s stay in Cleveland will be short lived and he’ll be gone in July.

»In Related: The Cleveland Cavaliers Team Salary Page

The Cavs are not as worried about Irving, despite reports, mainly because the steps he would have to take to hit unrestricted free agency in July of 2016 have never been taken by a player of his caliber. The Cavs will try and extend Irving as soon as they can, but there doesn’t appear a need to make a rash move just to satisfy Irving.

The urgency to make changes are more tied to the hot seat management finds itself on and the pressure ownership is applying.

Sources near the situation said around the draft that ownership gave the front office the green light to draft and sign whatever players they wanted, however making the playoffs was the franchise goal understanding that the only way to get buy-in from the young guys was to let them taste the postseason.

At no point was an “or else” statement made, but everyone involved knew what was on the line.

It’s one of the reasons the Cavs took a shot at the risky Andrew Bynum. It’s one of the reasons they drafted the player most scouts thought was the most NBA ready player in Bennett. It’s one of the reasons the Cavaliers added Jarrett Jack, a proven locker room leader.

None of those things have worked out, in large part because of the dysfunction around the team.

The Cavs are expected to be active over the next 17 days, in the march up to the February 20 NBA Trade Deadline. It’s highly unlikely that the Cavs will explore anything involving Kyrie Irving, but it is clear that almost anyone else on the roster could be had especially if it can infuse the Cavs with the kinds of players that will buy into to the situation.

As bad as it’s been for the Cavs, they are still only four games out of the eight seed, so all is not lost by any leap of the imagination, but change is coming and that’s almost a certainty now that the Cavs locker room laundry has been aired publically.

It’s not just Irving that’s unhappy, it’s safe to say almost anyone wearing a Cavs jersey would like to see things change and it appears the front office is working to accomplish that.

»ICYMI: Susan Bible and Joel Brigham debate the big question, is Kevin Durant the NBA’s MVP?… Bill Ingram digs into Jeremy Lin’s recent outburst in Houston. Has Jeremy found his mojo again?… Jabari Davis digs into the idea of trading Pau Gasol to Phoenix and whether an Emeka Okafor deal works for the Lakers.

The Suns And Gasol:  ESPN’s Marc Stein is the most recent insider to report about the Phoenix Suns desire to flip the ending, insurance-paid contract of Emeka Okafor into a something for a playoff push. This time pointing to “sourced” information that the LA Lakers’ Pau Gasol is one of their targets.

This potential trade has been speculated on for almost a month, and it seems, at least according to the report, that Phoenix is stepping up their efforts to swap a player that won’t play, for someone who might help them.

The Suns are sitting on $5.6 million in possible salary cap space, which would allow them to take on Gasol and possible another Laker’s ending contract and get the Lakers under the luxury tax line.

As things sit today the Lakers would need to shed $7.238 million to get under the tax line, and while a deal for Okafor and Gasol would get them part of the way there – shaving off $4.8 million – a contract or combination of contracts worth at least $2.438 million more would have to be included to get the Lakers where they want to be.

The Suns are believed to be dangling Okafor’s contract, 80 percent of which is being paid by insurance and their least desirable first round draft pick in efforts to pry lose a contributing player.

The Lakers’ stance has been that they would not swap Gasol for simply financial relief, sticking to their guns on getting an asset for the future back for Gasol. It’s unclear how the Lakers would view a low-level first round pick, especially if they are giving up what would need to be at least two players.

The Suns hold their own draft pick in 2014 and have the rights to Minnesota’s pick, assuming it is outside the top 13. They also have the rights to Washington’s pick assuming it’s outside the top 12 and Indiana’s first round pick, assuming it’s outside the top 14.

Based on the standings today, the Minnesota pick may not come to Phoenix this year; however the Pacers’ pick or their own pick might be the least desirable of the bunch.

Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak said recently that he doubted his club would trade Gasol, however with less than three weeks until the trade deadline, the Lakers may have to rethink their stand, simply because Phoenix is trying to make a deal and what they have to offer might be the best return the Lakers can get.

More Twitter:  Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @TheRocketGuy, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @JabariDavisNBA , @NateDuncanNBA , @MokeHamilton , @JCameratoNBA and @YannisNBA.

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

Trending Now