Even Cavs Players Are Doubtful They Can Win a Championship This Season

Contrary to popular opinion, LeBron James is human after all, and though his run of seven consecutive trips to the NBA Finals might make him seem otherworldly, it doesn't make him invincible. This season more than ever, it feels like Cleveland is surviving rather than thriving. At some point, someone in the East is going to beat them. And after Cleveland's 118-108 home loss to the defending champion Golden State Warriors last night, we might've officially reached that point.

According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, there is growing discontent and a strong sense of concern within the Cleveland locker room. The Cavs are 26-17 with only three wins in their last 12 games. They got blown out by a combined 62 points against Toronto and Minnesota last week. They might have the worst defense in the entire NBA, and they've slid so far that many of the team's veterans now doubt whether they can fix their problems this season.

Age. One-dimensional role players. Defensive-issues that go far beyond fundamentals. Several prominent players told ESPN, Cleveland.com, and The Athletic that the team's problems won't go away simply by getting healthy. 

This is not the first time we've heard grumblings coming out of Cleveland this season. Just last week, Yahoo! Sports reported there were complaints in the locker room about “personal agendas” getting in the way of success. Some Cavs players thought LeBron was chasing assists in an effort to win one final MVP award. Others didn't like coach Tyronn Lue's rotations. The bickering reeks of familiarity, like a family that's been living together far too long.

In past years during their inevitable regular season lapses, the team could lean on Kyrie Irving. But Irving is gone, and his replacement is a 28-year-old, 5'9″ defensive problem who may or may not ever be the same after returning from a major hip injury.

LeBron has to know all of this. He also knows Cleveland holds the rights to Brooklyn's first-round pick next summer—and that there are several names potentially available on the market. That pick and this year's trade deadline might be Cleveland's final chance to position themselves for one last run at a title. Among the NBA's contenders, they have the least to lose and the most to gain by making a deal.

No one ever expects a run to end before it does. Miami's Big Three era faded with a whimper, getting blitzed by 14 points per game against San Antonio in the 2014 Finals. Kobe's Lakers collapsed in a surprising sweep in 2011, burnt out and exhausted. Before that, it was Shaq and the Lakers getting old before our eyes and even before that, it was Houston and Hakeem Olajuwon getting run into the ground by Seattle and the Detroit Bad Boys wilting under the athleticism of Jordan's Bulls. 

Is this Cleveland's moment of reckoning? If it is, it shouldn't surprise anyone.

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LeBron James Calls Out Trump’s Racism During MLK Day Press Conference

LeBron James honored Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy before the Cleveland Cavaliers' match against the Golden State Warriors on MLK Day. He fit in a not-so-subtle dig at Donald Trump, too.

“He had a vision and he took a bullet for all of us. For us to stand here even though we're trying to be divided right now by somebody,” James said during a pre-game press conference. “Today is a great day for people to realize how America was built and how we all have to stand united in order to be one. Especially as Americans because we believe, we all know and we all believe, this is the greatest country in the world.” 

While the basketball star didn't directly mention Trump's name, he makes it very clear who he's referring to. He continued:

“The state of racism will never die, but what we can not do is allow it to conquer us as people. We can't allow it to divide us. The guy in control has given people and racism, and negative racism, an opportunity to be out and outspoken without fear. And that's the fearful thing for us because it's with you, and it's around every day. But he's allowed people to come out and just feel confident about doing negative things. We can't allow that to stop us from continuing to be together and preach the right word of living and loving and laughing and things of that nature. Because would we want to live anywhere else? I don't think so. We love this place.”

This isn't the first time James has called out Trump's racist and oppressive views. Last August, he tweeted Trump “just made [hate] fashionable again” in response to his reactions toward the Charlottesville protests. That was followed by the now-famous “U bum” moment after Trump targeted Steph Curry and revoked his invitation to the White House.

Watch James' reflection on Martin Luther King Jr. as well as his comments on Trump below:

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Cavs Hot Mess; Racism in Sports? Tom Brady Only Star Left | Out of Bounds

Welcome back to Season 2 of #OutOfBounds! The team kicks it off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day by discussing which major U.S. sports league has come closest to realizing MLK’s dream. Adam is concerned about the Cavaliers’ recent performance and questions if they can win today against the Golden State Warriors, but Gilbert is confident LeBron’s got it in the bag. Saints rookie safety Marcus Williams embarrassingly missed a crucial tackle that led to the Vikings last-second playoff win. Does Minnesota, or any of the remaining teams with suspect QBs, have a chance of knocking Tom Brady and the Patriots off?

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Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert Says He Received ‘Most Vile, Disgusting, Racist’ Voicemails After LeBron’s Trump Tweet

After LeBron James posted the tweet where he called Donald Trump a “bum” for withdrawing the Golden State Warriors' invitation to the White House, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says he received a ton of eye-opening racist voicemails directed at his star player. “The thing is, I mean, some of the most disgusting things I've ever heard people say,” Gilbert said on Friday's episode of CNBC's Squawk Box. “And you could hear it in their voice—the racism. It wasn't even really about the issue, and that's what really got me, because they went to who they really are, some of them.”

The voicemails opened Gilbert's eyes to the despicable racism that still exists today. “I received voicemails after LeBron tweeted that were some of the most vile, disgusting, racist [messages],” he said. “There's an element of racism that I didn't even realize existed in this country this much.” Gilbert admits to saving the voicemails, but has yet to tell LeBron about them—though he presumably knows now…

Earlier this week, Gilbert, whose company donated $750,000 towards Trump's inauguration and who allowed him to use the Cavaliers' Quicken Loans Arena for the 2016 Republican National Convention, released a statement addressing his relationship with the president of the United States. “Our interests are in the policies at the federal level, and not the politics surrounding the elections,” the statement read. “We have often supported both political parties in the same election so that we have the ability to impact positive change, regardless of who occupies the offices.” Gilbert and his wife did give a much smaller donation ($75,000) to Hillary Clinton's campaign. 

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Donald Trump Only Supports Free Speech When It’s White People Speaking

Donald Trump is not slick. He thinks he is, but he's not. For one, President U. Bum still hasn't figured out how to thread tweets.

Exhibit A: this disjointed, idiotic statement he made over the weekend about the legal, peaceful NFL demonstrations against police brutality and racism, which started with the still-unemployed Colin Kaepernick. After calling them “sons of bitches,” Trump insisted that players exercising their First Amendment rights be fired for “disrespect” to the national anthem and flag. 

Because America is already (somewhat) great, that statement was met with even more player protests, some of which included the very owners Trump attempted to appeal to. But that didn't stop him from doubling down on his stance Monday, insisting 1) it wasn't about race; and 2) that players not be vocal or demonstrative about their legitimate criticisms of this country's fucked-up, systematic, race-based issues.

Trump is mindbogglingly inconsistent in his support or criticism of free speech. But, as it turns out, he's pretty damn consistent with when he chooses to be critical. Instead of telling you, I'll just show you.

Trump had a busy weekend on Twitter; in addition to dropping his unsolicited opinion about the NFL, he announced he was rescinding his White House visit offer to Steph Curry, leaving Curry's team, the Golden State Warriors, with no choice but to decline the visit as a unit.

Even though Trump attributed the reason for the withdrawal to Curry's “hesitation,” the basketball star had been made it abundantly clear that his stance is unwavering against Trump and his dangerous rhetoric. It's pretty safe to assume Trump's decision was made in response to Curry's personal opinion, which he has every right to vocalize.

And then there's the incredibly messy case of ESPN correspondent Jemele Hill's recent criticism of Trump. In a conversation on Twitter, Hill unabashedly (and correctly) called Trump a white supremacist.

In retaliation, the Trump administration, via White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, recommended Hill be fired.

“I think that's one of the more outrageous comments that anyone can make,” Sanders said during a press briefing, “and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN.”

What do the aforementioned presidentially shunned figures have in common? Yep, that's right: they're all people of color. Keep that in mind. Let's press on.

In contrast, Trump praised figures in the NASCAR industry Monday for saying anyone who protests in the sport would be fired, effectively quashing members' rights to demonstrate peacefully.

You don't need Google to know that NASCAR is one of, if not the whitest sport in the world. But in case you need some context: this summer, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. became the first black driver to race at NASCAR's top level in more than a decade. The reason he made it in? He replaced another driver, who was injured in a wreck. So, here we have Donald, supporting the very white NASCAR owners and corporate leaders, for making it clear that they don't support free speech. Got it.

But wait a minute. Let's go back to February, when Trump threatened U.C. Berkley with the revocation of federal funds because they did not “allow free speech.” In this instance, Trump tweeted in defense of former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, whose inflammatory, racist speeches regularly incite riots and violent protests.  

But wait a minute, take two: just last month, Trump tweeted in support of protestors in Boston, who counter-demonstrated against a self-described free speech rally that was held one week after the convening of white supremacists in Charlottesville that turned deadly.

Hmm… what is it about Boston that makes it different than say, Ferguson or Baltimore? Why might Trump be more willing to support protestors there?

Looking a little funny in the light there, President Bum.

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Carmelo Anthony Traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder

Carmelo Anthony is getting his wish and leaving New York. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks have come to terms on a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder that will send Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second-round pick in exchange for Anthony. 

Wojnarowski reports that Anthony continued to pressure the Knicks front office into getting a deal done with training camp set to begin next week. However, the organization needed to jump through several hoops in order to turn his demand into a reality. First and foremost, the Knicks had to find a team that Melo would deem fit to waive his no-trade clause. 

With the help of Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook and the newly-acquired Paul George, Anthony waived his no-trade clause, as well as his trade kicker, in order to make the deal work. Did Westbrook and George ensure Anthony that they will be staying in Oklahoma City for the foreseeable future, even though their contracts are up at the end of this upcoming season? While George-to-L.A. next year seems like the league's worst-kept secret, maybe Russ has been able to get through to PG-13 on the idea of building something special in OKC. 

For Anthony, the move allows him to settle into a role more suited for his style of play. The Westbrook-to-Melo drive-and-kick it out potential is enough to give the rest of the league fits. Add George into that equation, and you have a serious contender at dethroning the Goliath of the NBA, the Golden State Warriors. 

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Nick Young Discusses Fashion and Basketball at His Most Hated Pop-Up in Los Angeles

The worlds of style and basketball have always been intertwined. While some players like Russell Westbrook have become known for their outrageous pregame outfits, others have gone as far as to create their own brands. One of the players who has done this is Golden State Warriors guard Nick Young. This past weekend, he hosted a pop-up shop for his brand Most Hated at American Rag in L.A., and Complex News was in attendance to chop it up with him.

What started with Young making a few shirts with the phrase “Most Hated” written on them last year has turned itself into full fledged brand for the young NBA player that now includes a line hoodies, hats, track pants. It has since gotten co-signed by everyone from fellow players like LeBron James to one of the league's “most hated” players Kevin Durant, and players have even asked him to send them some gear in the middle of games. He also mentioned how he would love to see Most Hated makes its way onto some style icons like Kanye West and Rihanna. “I'd hand deliver it to [Rihanna] personally,” says Young.

Aside from his brand, Swaggy P touched on how he was recruited to the reigning NBA Champions, as well as the personal style of some of his new teammates like Draymond Green and Steph Curry. Check out the full interview in the video above, and shop the Most Hated collection via the brand's online store here.

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The Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas Trade is Reportedly in Jeopardy

Tuesday’s blockbuster NBA trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics has technically not been finalized, and according to multiple reports the proposed deal is hitting a snag due to concerns about Isaiah Thomas’ hip injury. 

Thomas missed several games as the Cavs and Celtics faced off during last season’s Eastern Conference Finals after re-aggravating a right hip injury he suffered during Game 6 of the Celtics’ second-round series against the Washington Wizards. While some reports referred to that injury as a hip strain, both the exact nature of the injury and when Thomas originally hurt his hip are unclear.

NBA bylaws require both teams participating in a trade to disclose in writing all information held by the respective team’s players relevant to the player’s health and ability to play basketball. The players are also required to take physical examinations, which Thomas completed Friday.

Perhaps more telling were statements Celtics general manager Danny Ainge made earlier this week about Thomas’ health impacting the trade.

“There’s gonna be probably a little bit of a delay for Isaiah as he starts the season this year, but I think that Isaiah should be fine and healthy as the season goes along,” Ainge said. He also confirmed that Thomas’ health concerns played “some” role in trading the star point guard after he put up one of the more efficient high-volume scoring seasons in league history.

“Uncertainty over the fitness of his injured hip has Cavaliers officials evaluating the results and considering possible ramifications to the blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics earlier this week,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

Kyrie Irving is reportedly scheduled to take his physical with the Celtics Saturday, and the All-Star point guard comes with his own injury concerns. Irving’s college career at Duke was limited to 11 games due to a foot injury. In three of Irving’s six seasons in the NBA, he has played less than 60 of a possible 82 games due to injuries. 

In June of 2015, Irving left Game 1 of an NBA Finals matchup against the Golden State Warriors with a fractured kneecap. The injury required season-ending surgery and led to him missing a portion of the following season while recovering.

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Steph Curry Trolls LeBron James as Kyrie Irving Laughs Along

Meeting consecutively in the last three NBA Finals has led to some trolling between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. From LeBron James’ Ultimate Warrior t-shirt while enjoying endless memes about the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in 2016 to Draymond Green’s retaliatory “Quickie” t-shirt, the bad blood between the two squads has produced internet gold.

Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving has reportedly been asking for a trade in recent weeks, at least in part, to emerge from the shadow of James. All this comes sandwiched between James and Kyrie appearing to take their own passive-aggressive shots at each other via social media. All this has set the stage for the latest iteration of Warriors versus Cavaliers trolling.

Enter one Wardell Stephen Curry. Irving and Curry ended up at the same wedding, where Curry was captured on video mocking James. Curry managed a rather dead-on impression of James’ facial expressions and mannerisms from the widely circulated video of James enjoying Tee Grizzley’s “First Day Out” after a workout.

The surprising element of the clip comes when Kyrie is seen laughing along with Curry and seemingly egging him on.

With LeBron dropping emo clips singing along to Meek Mill’s “Heavy Heart,” Cavs forward Kevin Love allegedly sub-tweeting about Irving’s trade request, and now the Curry/Irving clip, there should be plenty of speculation regarding the Cavs' chemistry during the remainder of the offseason.

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A History of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving’s Complicated Relationship

When we think about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ dynamic duo of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, it’s hard to believe three years have already gone by. They’ve been to three straight NBA Finals together, and even won a title for The Land in 2016. They’ve brought out some of the best basketball in each other, with LeBron’s supernatural passing and basketball IQ aiding Kyrie’s growth into one of the game’s elite scorers.

As a pair, there hasn’t been a more devastating force since LeBron re-signed with the Cavs in 2014. That’s why it’s even harder to believe that Kyrie wants out of Cleveland, and furthermore, doesn’t want to play with LeBron anymore.

But, as ESPN reported over the past week, that’s Kyrie’s wish, and the 25-year-old star point guard will probably get it, too. And just recently, The Athletic reported that he wasn’t even speaking to the organization, full-stop. With LeBron’s Robin intent on leaving, we’re looking back at the moments that have lead us to this contentious point.


  • June 23, 2011: LeBron Leaves, But in Comes Kyrie

    Let’s not forget this fact: If LeBron doesn’t leave Cleveland for Miami in the summer of 2010, the Cavs don’t get the chance to draft Kyrie Irving. The season immediately following LeBron’s departure, the Cavs went from the East’s best team to winning a conference-low 19 games. They flat-out sucked, so they won the NBA Draft Lottery and took Kyrie No. 1 overall. And without Kyrie’s superstar talents, one can argue that LeBron wouldn’t have even come back to Cleveland in 2014.


  • April 4, 2014: The First Signs of Trouble in Cleveland

    In the four years between LeBron leaving and coming back to the Cavs, the franchise was left to Kyrie. He continued to shine as a developing star, but the Cavs couldn’t put together a young core around him, and endured 215 losses in that times pan. The Cavs had another concern on their hands too: with Kyrie’s rookie contract set to expire soon, ESPN reported that he just wasn’t feeling the vibe in Cleveland. Here’s what ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said at the time:

    “The truth is [Kyrie's] camp has been putting out there for years – years – that he doesn't want to be in Cleveland. That they don't want him in Cleveland.”


  • July 11, 2014: The King Comes Home

    If Kyrie was salty about his time in Cleveland, he didn’t have much time to dwell on it. Just over three months after ESPN’s report, LeBron surprised the NBA universe and announced he’d sign with the Cavs. This obviously changed everything: Kyrie wouldn’t have the pressure of being the franchise’s go-to guy, and an older LeBron could reign over the Cavs with a young star in Kyrie to run and gun with.

    But think about it from Kyrie’s perspective, too. He already felt like he wasn’t getting what he wanted in Cleveland, whether that be treatment or status. But still, he ended up signing a contract extension with the Cavs, not knowing that LeBron would barge in 10 days later. Suddenly, he was someone else’s sidekick. He never recruited LeBron—LeBron came to him, and that’s not necessarily what Kyrie signed up for.


  • Nov. 5, 2014: LeBron Sons Kyrie

    LeBron James is a basketball perfectionist, and he consistently demands the most his teammates have to offer. He’s a very direct leader. When you’re on LeBron’s team, you’re playing his game to win, because LeBron’s just that great. But after an early season loss to the Jazz, LeBron didn’t think his point guard was buying in fully.

    Yes, Kyrie dropped 34 points that game, but the team lost, and he didn’t record a single assist. LeBron thought that was unacceptable from his point guard, and lectured him after the game. Kyrie said it went down like this, according to Cleveland.com

    “He came up to me and was like, 'One, you can never have another game with no assists. You can damn near have just one, two, three, but you can't have zero.' And I was like, 'All right, cool, it won't happen again.' And it hasn't happened since that game.”


  • June 19, 2016: The Cavs Win Their First NBA Title

    LeBron and Kyrie did it! They overcame a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit against the vaunted Golden State Warriors, not to mention a do-or-die Game 5, and became the first pair of teammates to score over 40 points each in a Finals game. They were absolutely unstoppable:

    Suddenly, everything felt right in the world. This is probably the happiest the two have ever been together. For a summer, basketball love came back to Cleveland.


  • July 21, 2017: Kyrie Wants Out

    And on this day, the NBA universe lost its damn mind. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was first to report the news, saying that Kyrie had requested a trade. His main reasons are straightforward: 1) He’s done being someone else’s sidekick or secondary option. 2) He feels like he’s not getting enough superstar treatment from the organization. 3) Well, he just doesn’t want to play with LeBron anymore.

    The news blindsided LeBron, who was reportedly very upset by it. So upset, that Kyrie thinks LeBron leaked the trade request out of spite.


  • July 22, 2017: LeBron Throws Shade on Snapchat

    One day after the Kyrie trade news broke, LeBron posted a video of himself jamming out to a few new tracks from Meek Mill, one of his longtime favorite artists. With his head shaking and a brim covering his eyes, LeBron vibed out to a verse about loyalty. In particular, this line was perceived as a shot at Kyrie: “The streets love me with a heavy heart/N***** say they with you when they really not.” 

    Watch and listen closely:


  • July 25, 2017: The Petty Wars Are Underway

    Just a few days ago, Kyrie unfollowed LeBron on Instagram. You can brush it off as nothing, sure, but when has an unfollow ever been a good thing between two people in a relationship? Never. You unfollow someone when you don’t fuck with them anymore. Kyrie did just that. 

     

    Kyrie unfollowed LeBron on IG. 👀 📷: @selzerfx

    A post shared by Sports Videos (@houseofhighlights) on Jul 25, 2017 at 9:16am PDT

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