Think LeBron James misses Kyrie Irving yet?
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a trainwreck (for now). The defending Eastern Conference champions aren’t playing well, the team’s players reportedly can’t stop arguing and star forward Kevin Love just went down with a broken hand.
And, fair or not, much of the blame for the Cavs’ struggles is being put on the best player they acquired from the Boston Celtics in exchange for Irving: Isaiah Thomas.
Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger published a lengthy piece Wednesday detailing the Cavs’ turmoil. There’s a lot of meat on the bone, but one of the most interesting bits pertains to Thomas’ close relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.
“Thomas has become a favorite of Gilbert,” Berger wrote, “and they often exchange calls and text messages, a league source familiar with their relationship told B/R. This isn’t necessarily unusual on a team with an owner who is as involved in the basketball side of things as Gilbert is. It also isn’t great for locker room chemistry, because the rest of the players know it.
” ‘LeBron just looks at everybody as a shill for Dan,’ the league source said.”
That’s not exactly a recipe for good chemistry.
It’s one thing for an owner to develop a close relationship with a player. But it’s when that relationship becomes too close that things potentially become problematic. (Just look at the New England Patriots.)
If Thomas really is a mouthpiece for the team’s owner (who has a history of not being the world’s greatest wordsmith), then it’s easy to understand James’ frustration. Still, if James, Thomas and the Cavs want to achieve their ultimate goal, then they need to put those differences aside.