Sunday 18 February 2018 / 02:06 PM


Well, things are at that spicy time of the year in the NBA where teams are either hopelessly optimistic, or just hopeless. As we near the halfway point of the NBA season, there’s a variety of teams that aren’t quite where they saw themselves, and it looks like there’s an unlikely one to add to the list: the Cleveland Cavaliers.

That’s right, the Cavs are struggling pretty bad. At least according to LeBron James. The Cavs were upset by the Pelicans last night, and the loss was pretty bad. They lost even though the Pels were missing Anthony Davis, and Jrue Holiday sat half the game. Oh, and got roasted on the court and Twitter by the Kings.

And after the game, LeBron got people talking with his postgame interview, and decided to give his opinion on why the team sucks. He questioned the intensity of the team, and the motivation of the roster. He proceeded to rip the team’s depth, saying that the Cavs were top-heavy.

And if that sounds like he’s throwing his teammates under the bus, don’t worry, it gets better. James decided to leave no question in that department, and when asked to expound he added: “We’re top heavy. We have a top-heavy team. We top-heavy as s—. It’s me, Kyrie, and Kevin.”

Oh yeah! Not only did he crap on the other starters, he went after the bench, too. And James has doubled down on it, going so far as to say there were no playmakers on the roster, and that the Cavs solution to their woes is to go get another one, and beef up their bench. James used the Warriors as an example, citing that they went to the Finals a year ago, and yet still beefed up their roster with more veterans. Oh, and KD.

But James is wrong about why the Cavs are struggling. Sure, there’s no doubt that they are: Cleveland has gone 5-6 in 2017, and is now sitting just 2.5 games ahead of Toronto in the East. But it’s not depth that’s killing them, it’s just the roster.

Yes, the Warriors added some vets and some extreme talent to their roster, but the Cavs aren’t exactly slouches. They’ve beefed up the roster still, and the Cavs are full of complementary players around LeBron.

You’ve got shooters abound: Kyle Korver, JR Smith, Channing Frye, even Iman Shumpert is a complementary piece. They’ve even found the money for some nice big men.

But the irony of LeBron clamoring about a broken roster is the fact that he constructed the one that exists. It started with the trade for Love, and the deal that shipped out Andrew Wiggins and bench players. Then the offseason acquisitions of James Jones, Mike Miller, and a slew of vets.

Then they traded for his friends: JR Smith and Iman Shumpert. Then came Chris Anderson, Richard Jefferson, and the crew, all friends of James.

But the slow pick apart of the roster started the past two off seasons, when James used his leverage on management to get massive, overpaid extensions to both Tristan Thompson and JR Smith, both using the same agent as James, and both locking down the cap room that the Cavs could have used to retain players like Timofey Mozgov or Matthew Dellavedova.

But the Cavs have done their best. Mo Williams, Mike Dunleavy, and the trade for Kyle Korver were all orchestrated by James, all friends of James from teams past outside of Korver.

But, Williams and Dunleavy bit the Cavs by never producing, and left the Cavs cash strapped and looking for alternatives.

Sure, the roster isn’t fully the issue: the Cavs are surely not “top-heavy”, with the roster performing around the level that they should be at this point in the season. But if there ARE complaints over this roster, and how it’s constructed, it’s certainly to no fault of the Cavaliers front office.

LBJ is right in the thinking that the Cavaliers have an issue on the roster and in the front office. He’s just wrong about what that issue is: himself.

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About the author

Austin Albertson

Austin is CBS' senior NFL and NBA analyst, bringing you commentary on everything between the lines and inside the hashes, from the film room to the scoreboard.

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