Tensions are brewing in Cleveland for the defending NBA champs.
After losing their third straight game last night to the lowly Sacramento Kings 116-112, many questions are being asked as to what’s going on and why they are 2-6 in their last eight games.
These questions are mainly being raised by one LeBron James who has publicly questioned management for a lack of moves in order to bolster their roster for a possible repeat while other teams like the Warriors have made major moves.
Their last three losses have come to the Spurs, the Pelicans and the Kings Wednesday night. Now, the Spurs loss is understandable. It was a well-played game in primetime, where both teams had their chances to win and the Spurs just came out on top.
The last two, however, have been inexcusable.
Versus the Pelicans earlier this week, without Anthony Davis to add, the Cavs gave up 124 points and lost the game by two points, despite a triple-double from James and 49 points from Kyrie Irving.
Versus the Kings, the Cavs gave up 116 points and lost by four points despite James, Irving and Kevin Love each scoring 20 points each.
LeBron has publicly stated that this team is not in any way ready to repeat for a title, especially if they have to go against the Warriors again who have three legitimate ways to score and beat you every night in Curry, Durant, Thompson, and even possible four with Draymond Green. The Cavs, however, have only two, LeBron and Kyrie where Love has the ability to hurt you but in a matchup between Love and Green, Green takes that one every time.
James has expressed the need for another playmaker, and in essence, scorer on the floor to match the output of teams like the Warriors. Being that he is playing a lot of minutes in January as well as Kyrie, he realizes that big-time minutes this early in the season will affect them later on during playoff time.
The Cavs did add Kyle Korver after the loss of sharpshooter J.R. Smith most likely until March or April, but Korver is just another shooter. What the Cavs need is another legitimate scorer who will buy in defensively if need be.
What makes all of this interesting is the report that the Knicks offered Carmelo Anthony to the Cavs in exchange for Kevin Love. On the surface, this move would seem like the right one for the Cavs because of the things I mentioned before: needing more scoring options and another playmaker. Anthony fits that description as he is still one of the top offensive players in the league with the ability to pass and rebound effectively.
What you have to factor in with Melo, however, is the defensive factor. Will Melo be able to guard a Draymond Green or Kevin Durant when LeBron may be off the floor? Definitely not Durant, but with Green, he would be more formidable.
There is a possible lineup there with Melo at the four, and LeBron at the three or vice versa if they’re not playing the Warriors with Melo’s ability to shoot. You would obviously surround those two with Kyrie at the point, J.R. at the two and Tristan Thompson at the five which would honestly make for a good lineup.
Chemistry-wise, I don’t think the Melo addition would take that long to mesh. He would be playing with LeBron, his long-time friend who doesn’t necessarily need to score to be effective and a Melo-Kyrie high pick and roll would be as deadly a combination as there is in the league. I also believe that Melo, now having a legitimate chance to make it to and win the Finals, would lock in defensively just like he has done on the Olympic teams he’s been on.
The Melo route would be one that the Cavs should seriously consider and would be foolish not to. If your team clearly needs another offensive threat and someone who can create for others while LeBron and Kyrie may not be on the floor, then Melo’s your guy. At that point, a steady backup point guard would still be needed like a Jameer Nelson who provides Finals experience with the ability to run an offense and score as well.
If these moves are made, then the Cavs will be right where they need to be to repeat. As of now, they’re looking for some answers and need to make some soon before the trade deadline because losing three games in a row will cut it, especially against two sub-.500 teams.
Do you think the Cavs should trade for Carmelo Anthony? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.