The reports of problems with the Cavaliers have been largely ongoing this season, but reached what may have been a tipping point over the last few days.
Luol Deng, who was recently traded to Cleveland from Chicago, was reportedly shocked at what a mess the team is, which included details of Dion Waiters getting kicked out of a practice but suffering no further consequences, others threatening not to play at halftimes of games, and showing no respect whatsoever for head coach Mike Brown.
An organization should never let things get to this point, obviously, but now that we’re here, it can’t be expected to continue. And the latest report says that the team is likely to shake up its roster before the upcoming trade deadline on Feb. 20.
Two sources close to the team confirmed that barring a significant turnaround before the trade deadline, this roster will likely face some upheaval. That very well could include Waiters, whose act has worn thin on his teammates and various members of the organization.
Waiters is just in his second season, but has continued to show a level of immaturity both on the court and behind closed doors with teammates. He was taken with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, so the Cavs have been reluctant to trade him so quickly, despite his clashes with Kyrie Irving — unquestionably, the team’s star player and the one they want to build around for the future.
This was supposed to be a season where the Cavaliers made a leap to the postseason. The team was aggressive in free agency during the summer in adding Earl Clark, Jarrett Jack and Andrew Bynum, and once the Bynum experiment failed, they immediately tried to fix it by acquiring a hard-working, two-time All-Star.
But the problems in Cleveland clearly stem from the top. Brown may be a solid basketball mind (especially on the defensive side), but he’s shown now in consecutive situations he has no idea how to manage internal strife — either with veteran players like he had in Los Angeles, or with younger, less emotionally-mature talent like he currently has in place.
A roster change may be a short-term solution. But until the organization gets more qualified leadership in place, the faces may change, but the problems are likely to continue in some capacity.