A 32-point loss to the Houston Rockets. An 18-point loss to the Orlando Magic after leading by 21 points. 7-10 since New Years. This Cleveland Cavaliers season turned into a drudge through bad basketball. “We were marching a slow death,” described Cavs general manager Koby Altman following the NBA trade deadline on Thursday. The season was becoming void of fun.
The Cavs were old, bad at defense, emotionless and just not exciting to watch anymore. The team was fighting with each other off the court, which leaked into their play on the court. The games became a drag to watch. Cleveland’s game was just bland and during large spurts, really hard to watch, let alone enjoy. The roster seemed to be a mismatch of players who did not fit together and did not want to play together.
As Cavs fans, we were used to January doldrums, but this was different. They were unwatchable and had no energy. The lowered play was different from year’s past. The Cavs were getting blown out on a consistent basis. Locker room fighting and public degrading of teammates was the biggest sign that this was no blip, but a huge problem. The fun was gone. There was just bad basketball and a team who did not like each other. Things had to change.
And, boy did we see change. Altman and the Cavs made a flurry of trades on Thursday’s trade deadline, sending out six players and bringing in four new players to rejuvenate the roster. It was a complete overhaul of the team. It stripped the roster of the biggest problem child, Isaiah Thomas. Thomas seemed to be the biggest sore thumb on the team. He just never fit in and never really tried to fit in. The Cavs also let go of veterans like Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert, who did not help much at all to improve the chemistry of the team.
Replacing these aging veterans are some exciting young talents. The Cavs acquired Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood, and George Hill in a span of three total trades on Thursday. The roster was reborn.
“I think we’re going to be energetic and I think we’re going to be fun again,” declared Altman after finalizing the roster overhaul on Thursday. “Fun to watch and fun to be around.” As a fan of the Cavs, the last few months were just not fun to watch. They were uncomfortable and irritating to watch. Cleveland needed this rejuvenation.
With these trades, I have hope that the excitement and fun of Cavaliers basketball will be back. I did not have that hope 24 hours ago. The influx of the new, mostly young talent, should be a boost to the fun factor. We do not know if these trades will change their odds of winning an NBA title. But, I do know these changes were required. I now have hope that this team will return to some enjoyable basketball where we will have no need to close our eyes till the game is over. Fun is hopefully back for the Cavs on the hardwood.