There’s no crying in basketball. Well, that should be a rule when you’re considered the best player in the NBA and you’re coming off six straight Finals appearances and your current Cleveland Cavaliers team is trying to head to their third straight. But, such is the life of LeBron James and the Cavs.
Things have gotten so bad for the Cavs during a horrid start to the new year that the superstar went to the media and pretty much bashed his team saying they need a playmaker. Now, I get where he’s coming from. I don’t think he meant in terms of his starting unit as he and Kyrie Irving have handled that duty since joining forces but the second unit is where the issues are.
The Cavs let Matthew Dellavedova depart, traded Mo Williams and signed Kyle Korver. The bench is led by a gang of who’s who with no real playmaker in uniform. But the Cavs took LeBron’s words to heart and decided to hold a free agent tryout with veteran players like Mario Chalmers, Kirk Hinrich, Jordan Farmar and Lance Stephenson.
Chalmers and James have history as they won two titles together in Miami but James took shots at Rio by asking Pat Riley to draft UCONN pg, Shabazz Napier. So, them two playing together may not be in the team’s best interest. Hinrich is solid but a playmaker he’s not and has never been during his career. The one that Cavs must sign is Stephenson.
Stephenson and LeBron have sort of a weird history with the Pacers and Heat rivalry and the infamous “blowing in the ear incident” but as James said before the Minnesota Timberwolves game:
“I got a history with all those guys except Jordan,” James said after shootaround Wednesday, as the Cavs prepared for their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “I got a history with Lance too, obviously. I got a history versus Kirk. I played him in a lot of playoff series. And I got a history with Rio [Chalmers]. … At the end of the day, Rio is recovering from his Achilles tear. I hope he’s been doing everything he needs to do just to get back on the floor. He loves to play the game.
“I’m a supporter of what this franchise wants to do, no matter what it’s doing. But my focus right now is to get our guys playing championship-level basketball.”
James wants to win but the only player that will bring that excitement and toughness the Cavs are missing is Stephenson. He’s a spark plug. He gets after it on both sides of the ball and can play three positions if need be. Stephenson is excellent when it comes to dribbling penetration, he can also create for others and has a pretty decent perimeter game.
What the Cavs need, he has. The other players are slow-footed on defense and picture takers on the offensive end. Stephenson will attack the basket as he has done his entire career. The Cavs are offering him a chance at a title and he’s the Cavs missing piece to their hopes.