When LeBron James decided to return to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, and they paid a relatively large amount in trading for Timberwolves star Kevin Love, it was understandably expected that the team would be very good. As the Minnesota Wild are finding out, though, sometimes what looks good on paper doesn’t automatically translate into greatness. It’s mid-January and they’re under .500.
Even worse, apparently there is some consternation among teammates and coaching staff. While LeBron’s supposed pushing of head coach David Blatt was simply his trying to stop him from getting a technical foul (which they both said) there are still issues in the clubhouse. Supposedly the players are running different plays than are being called on the bench, assistant coach Tyronn Lue is calling timeouts behind Blatt’s back, and players are openly complaining about coaches. Concerning our old boy, the Cavs knew that Love’s defensive was bad but they didn’t realize it was as bad as it is (hence his getting taken out of the game during some important fourth quarter situations).
It’s hard not to say that it couldn’t happen to a better bunch of people after how LeBron turned his back on Cleveland with The Decision and Kevin Love left Minnesota so unceremoniously. But James has turned things around since then, becoming the proverbial nice guy, and although Love could have handled things better at least he was up front about his desire to leave and didn’t leave the Wolves hanging.
And besides, if your team is just under .500 in the East you’re still guaranteed a playoff spot. I’m sure things will click eventually and the Cavs will make a deep run in the playoffs, or even into the NBA Finals.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.