While the spotlight of speculation continues to shine brightly on the Cleveland Cavaliers, small forward Luol Deng is the subject of a column in the New York Daily News that paints an even worse picture for the scene in Independence.
As Deng recently told one close friend, “the stuff going on in practice would never be tolerated by the coaching staff or the front office back in Chicago. It’s a mess.”
Deng was brought in to help clean it up when he arrived in a deal for Andrew Bynum on Jan. 7. But since then, he’s seen players get thrown out of practice, take off their uniform tops at halftime and threaten not to play, mouth off to Brown and generally act like spoiled brats.
There is no accountability, as Dion Waiters found out when he was kicked out of practice last week but still got his usual minutes against the Knicks. Brown isn’t getting much help from GM Chris Grant, who is expected to be fired at season’s end because of the losing and problems in the locker room. […]
Kyrie Irving is close to firing his agent, Jeff Wechsler, according to a league source. We hear part of the reason Irving is seeking a new rep is that he intends on leaving the Cavs, while Wechsler wants him to stay. As we reported at the start of the season, Irving wants to come back home to the New York area — he’s from West Orange, N.J. — and play for the Knicks. Lord knows they could use an All-Star talent at point guard, and Irving will be headed for his first starting assignment in an All-Star game in a couple of weeks.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Deng said, the wake of his trade from Chicago to Cleveland, that he was leaving one great organization for another. If these quotes are true, while not said directly to the author of the column, they show what may be going on behind the scenes. This is the first anyone has reported anything regarding players getting kicked out of practice.
Two notes worth pointing out: It was the New York Daily News that, earlier this year, attempted to discuss a path that ultimately ends with Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving ending up in a New York Knicks jersey. Also, these quotes provide a stark contrast to those which will hit Jason Lloyd’s Sunday-morning column.
“I don’t get the vibe that anyone has given up on Coach, I just think we’re not playing as a unit,” said Deng. “Cleveland is going to win. I really believe that. I’m not surprised they went to the Finals before. It’s going to happen again.”