As the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to struggle, LeBron James calls for the Cavs to make roster moves seemingly are getting louder and louder.
“I just hope that we’re not satisfied as an organization,” James said on Monday night to a handful of Cavs’ beat reporters, including Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
“I just hope we’re not satisfied.”
Cleveland (30-14) has tied their season-high with three straight losses and has lost six of eight overall. The Cavaliers are coming off a 116-112 overtime setback to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night despite getting a triple-double from LeBron James for a second consecutive game. The Cavs shot 48.8 percent from the floor against the Kings and made 15 three-pointers, but they only made 17-of-34 free throws and turned the ball over 18 times.
Cleveland has had an awful month of January, posting just a 5-7 record. The Cavaliers have been outscored by an average of 2.8 points a game this month as they are giving up 109.1 points a game. Defense has been the major cause of the team’s struggles.
Cleveland has given up at least 100 points in 11 of their last 12 games. The Cavs’ biggest issues have been transition defense and protecting the paint. The Cavaliers are permitting their opponents to shoot 47.0 percent from the floor along with 37.0 percent from long-range this month.
James has been clamoring for the Cavaliers to add another playmaker since they acquired Kyle Korver nearly three weeks ago. Speaking of Korver, he has averaged 8.1 points and has made 2.6 three-pointers a game in eight contests.
Overall, the Cavs’ bench has struggled all season. The Cavaliers’ reserves rank 28th in scoring, 15th in point differential (+0.7) and 28th in shooting percentage.
The Cavs have been thinking about adding a point guard since Mo Williams decided to retire prior to the start of training camp. With Williams still on the roster, until being shipped to Atlanta as part of the Korver deal, the Cavs were handicapped at what they could do. And they were apparently happy to go with Iman Shumpert and Kay Felder as the primary backups to Kyrie Irving. Shumpert is not a true point guard and Felder, who ranks 66th in ESPN’s real plus-minus among point guards, is an undersized rookie.
The problem of a possible trade is the Cavs really don’t have many assets to deal. Cleveland does not have a first round pick to trade until 2021 and has already dealt away several of their second round picks. Jordan McRae, Shumpert, and Felder are most likely players to be included in any deal.
“I don’t know what we got to offer (in trades),” James said. “I just know me, personally? I don’t got no time to waste. I’ll be 33 in the winter, and I ain’t got time to waste. That’s what I’m talking about.”
Sam Amico of Amico Hoops recently reported that the Cavs have had repeated discussions with the Denver Nuggets about Jameer Nelson and suggests that the 35-year-old is their primary target. Amico added it is unknown whether the Nuggets would be willing to part with the veteran point guard since they are among the teams fighting for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Nelson, who has started the last three games as Emmanuel Mudiay is dealing with back soreness, has been solid for the Nuggets the last two years. He is actually shooting the ball better than he has in the past few years this season.
Nelson is not the only veteran that has been mentioned as possibilities for the Cavaliers. Forbes‘ Mitch Lawrence suggested that the Cavs may also target Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo. Williams, who has suffered several injuries throughout his career, is currently dealing with a toe injury. The 32-year-old is having a nice season with Dallas, averaging 13.5 points and 7.1 assists while shooting 43.3 percent from the floor and 35.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Rondo has had some issues with the Chicago Bulls so there are chemistry concerns. The 30-year-old has struggled mightily this season and, has on occasion, has received DNP’s coaches decision.
Free agents Nate Robinson and Jordan Crawford have lobbied to join the Cavaliers per Sportando.
It will be interesting to see whether the Cavs will make a move. According to ESPN, Cleveland general manager David Griffin said that it is possible he won’t make any more trades. And coach Tyronn Lue said he believes the team, as currently constructed, can win a second straight title.
“We have enough on this team to win a championship,” Lue said before the game.
“We can get better. I know Griff is going to make us better and he’s going to do the best he can.”
[Featured Image by David Zalubowski/AP Images]