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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Flat-Earth Truther Kyrie Irving Admits His Theory Came From IG

I honestly can’t listen to Kyrie Irving talk about his thoughts on the Earth being flat anymore. First, he said it was flat. Then, he said he was just trolling everyone. Then, he said he thought it was flat again. And now, well, now he just seems amused over the fact that everyone is so hung up on his opinion on the shape of the Earth. It’s maddening, to say the least.

But Irving is still talking about his flat Earth theory, and fortunately, there are other people out there who are listening to him talk and trying to make sense of it all. On Friday, J.J. Redick debuted a new episode of his Ringer podcast, and Irving, who has been over in London with Redick for a Celtics/76ers game, was his special guest. And they wasted absolutely no time getting into Irving's thoughts on flat Earth and other conspiracy theories. It all starts at about the 1:45 mark of the clip below.

I spent about 45 seconds listening to it before I started banging my head on my keyboard and couldn’t take it anymore, but Ball Don’t Lie blogger Ben Rohrbach did us all a favor and listened to Irving go on (and on and on and on…) about his takes on different conspiracy theories, and he shared some of the high—and low—lights.

Irving and Redick started things off by speaking about Irving’s original comments about flat Earth last February, and Irving revealed that he made the comments after learning about different flat Earth theories on…Instagram. No, really, that was what started all of this.

Redick and Irving moved on to talk about conspiracy theories in a more general sense, which is when Irving touched briefly on geo-engineering and chemtrails, which are things that you should not Google under any circumstances unless you want to spend (waste?) the rest of your afternoon jumping down rabbit holes that will impossible to get out of. Irving said the things he read on such theories made him “think twice about shit.”

From there, Redick revealed he isn’t 100 percent convinced dinosaurs existed (oddly enough, he's not the only pro athlete who thinks this) before the two players moved on to talking about 9/11 conspiracy theories. At this point, Rohrbach considered turning away and shutting the podcast off, and we wouldn’t have blamed him at all for doing it. But he soldiered on and shared what Irving had to say about the 9/11 conspiracy theories he’s seen.

After that, there was even some Illuminati talk! Irving asked Redick if he had seen the new Taco Bell commercial that references the Illuminati, and Irving shared his thoughts on the Illuminati and talked about how he has “been seeing the all-seeing eye for about six months now.”

The conspiracy segment then ended with Irving going all-in on his thoughts on spiritual alchemy and—wait—Jim Carrey? Yup, this podcast appearance took even more twists and turns than anyone could have possibly predicted.

The thing is that, even after allllllllllllll of this, I actually still think Irving is probably making a larger point here that is very valid. That point being that people should use the resources available to them to do the necessary research to learn the truth about things, rather than just accepting the truth from others. But the fact that he seems to be relying on random Instagram accounts to learn the “truth”—and that he seems to be dabbling in so many conspiracy theories at once—is what makes it all so facepalm-inducing in the first place.

If your brain can take it, you can check out what else Irving had to say on the podcast—there was even some stuff that didn’t have anything to do with the shape of the Earth or chemtrails—in the video above.

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Bill Nye Comes for B.o.B About Flat Earth Beliefs

B.o.B made us scratch our heads when he shared in a series of tweets that had “scientific” evidence the Earth was flat and not round.

Bobby Ray is so committed to being a flat Earth truther that he tried to confront Nasa and Neil Degrasse Tyson’s logic on Twitter (and wrote a diss track called “Flatline” at him), dropped a series of mixtapes where he comments on society, politics, and conspiracy theories, and now wants to launch a satellite through a GoFundMe to prove once and for all the Earth is flat.

Then there’s Kyrie Irving, who is also a firm believer that the Earth is flat. But he could be trolling with his stance, who the hell knows.

It’s enough to get Bill Nye so fired up that he wants to debunk every flat Earth theory out there. Complex's Khal and Frazier Tharpe sat down with him recently to hear his thoughts about the phenomenon.

“The dismissal of so much human knowledge is crystallized that the Earth might be flat. It’s just saying, everyone we came before me is a dumbass and that’s wrong,” he says. “The passion, beauty, and joy – the PB&J of science – is you can do it for yourself. It’s not man, woman. It’s not recently from Africa, recently from Europe. It’s true for everyone—the Earth goes around the sun, the Earth is a ball.”

“And if you believe the flat Earth, go to the freaking edge, and take a picture. Post it on the ‘Gram.”

Facts. You can watch the video above.

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Kyrie Irving Displays Handles in New Commercial for the Nike Kyrie 4

Further proof that Kyrie Irving has emerged as a sneaker-selling star for Nike Basketball, the brand is using Christmas Day as a platform to showcase the 4-time All-Star's new signature sneaker.

In Goove 101, the league's top handler displays his skills with the rock, with some help from Rob Gronkowski, Jayson Tatum and 9-year old hoop prodigy Jahlil “Jah Swish” Owusu. The spot, which also features music by an orchestra, highlights the “Ankletaker” Kyrie 4, which is available now at nike.com and Nike Basketball retailers.

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Mia Khalifa and Gilbert Arenas Explain Why Masked Kyrie Is Overrated on ‘Out of Bounds’

On today's episode of Out of Bounds, Mia shows off her oversized, blinged-out turnover chain after University of Miami's big win, and Gilbert Arenas admits to finally being impressed by Lonzo Ball's play. The team also weighs in on masked Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook's fashion sense, and 49ers fans breaking the long streak by getting “0-16” tattoos. Will this be a new trend?

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Mia Khalifa and Gilbert Arenas Debate If Kyrie Irving Is Overrated on ‘Out of Bounds’

On today's episode of Out of Bounds, the crew opens with a video of Sean Kingston claiming he and Serena Williams had a fling. Fake news or nah? They also debate if Kyrie Irving is overrated and catch up on recent updates on the LiAngelo Ball arrest story. Gilbert Arenas is still unimpressed by Lonzo Ball, Mia Khalifa is not a fan of Jalen Ramsey or conservatives, and the two have a heated back-and-forth on whether Grayson Allen still has a chance of making it to the NBA. 

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Mia Khalifa and Gilbert Arenas Discuss Why Kyrie SZN Is Finally Upon Us on ‘Out of Bounds’

On today’s Out of Bounds, Gilbert, Mia, Pierce, and Adam chat about the past week’s NBA, NFL, and college football standings and U of Miami’s Bowl prospects. The crew also run through Steph Curry’s mouthguard-related first ejection, coach firings, why the Cleveland Browns are trash, and Gabrielle Union’s discussion of tossing salads in her life prior to Dwyane Wade.

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Carmelo Anthony’s Son Is One of the Main Reasons He Ended Up on the Thunder

When Isaiah Thomas got traded to the Cavaliers as part of the Kyrie Irving deal this summer, he wasn’t happy about it. At all. In fact, he’s still not all that thrilled with the way things went down, and he has committed himself to not speaking to Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge for the foreseeable future. But there was one person who was ecstatic when he found out Thomas had been traded: His own son James.

“LEBRON! LEBRON JAMES!” his son yelled when he found out about the trade, according to a piece Thomas penned for The Players’ Tribune. “Dad—Dad. You get to play with LeBron James!”

And it sounds like there’s another famous NBA player’s son who was also incredibly happy when he found out that his dad had been traded to a contender.

Carmelo Anthony spoke with The New York Times this week, ahead of the Thunder’s season-opening game against the Knicks on Thursday night. He revealed that long before he considered waiving his no-trade clause to accept a trade that would take him to Oklahoma City, his son Kiyan came to him and told him that he should consider making a move to the Thunder. Carmelo hadn’t thought about it much up until that point, but he said it definitely played a role in his final decision to go to OKC.

“My son said he wanted me to play for OKC,” Carmelo said. “Even before OKC was in the picture.”

Carmelo suggested it wasn’t the only time he had discussed the possibility of a trade with his son, but he said Kiyan was pretty adamant about the idea of him playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

“My son has a basketball mind,” he said. “So I will always throw little topics at him. He was like, 'Dad, where are you getting traded to?' I told him, 'I don’t know, where do you think I should go?' He said: 'You really want me to give you my opinion? I think you should go to OKC.' It worked out.”

It sure did—and OKC fans have Kiyan to thank.

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Elsewhere in his interview with the NYT, Carmelo addressed the fractured relationship he had with Phil Jackson. He admitted that he only spoke to Jackson twice all last season, and accused Jackson of trying to trade him away from the Knicks “for a bag of chips.” He also spoke on how difficult it was to deal with it all while also trying to focus on playing basketball.

“When I signed with the Knicks, I wanted to be in New York and I believed in Phil,” he said. “Then last year it went to: I was being pushed out. There were things being said about me that I didn’t know where they were coming from. And I still had to go to the gym and play and practice and deal with the media, answer all those questions every day.”

You can check out the Times’ full piece on Carmelo ahead of his game against the Knicks here.

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Mia Khalifa Clarifies Her Tweet About Gordon Hayward’s Injury on ‘Out of Bounds’

On today’s episode of Out of Bounds, the crew gets into Gordon Hayward’s gruesome injury, while Mia defends her tweet about it. They also break down LeBron James and Kyrie Irving hugging it out during the season opener. Later, Gilbert Arenas shares his insight about brotherhood on the court, discovers that swimming is a real sport, and has a few more words for Michael Jordan.

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Carmelo Anthony Reveals 2 Major Trades That Almost Happened This Summer

Carmelo Anthony sent shockwaves through the NBA community last Saturday when he agreed to waive his no-trade clause so that the Knicks could deal him to the Thunder. It gave Oklahoma City three superstars on its roster—Anthony will be joined by Russell Westbrook and Paul George next season—and it also made the Western Conference even more talented than it already was (R.I.P. Eastern Conference, smh).

On Thursday, Anthony sent even more shockwaves through the NBA community with some comments he made on SiriusXM Radio. While talking about his trade, he said that he came close to being traded not once but twice at other times during the offseason. One of those trades involved him heading to Houston to join James Harden and Chris Paul on the Rockets.

“A deal was done with Houston early, then for some reason, whatever happened behind-the-scenes, it didn’t go through,” he said. “It fell through, then we had to really start paying attention and thinking about other options.”

That trade, according to Anthony, nearly went down in July. And there was another trade involving Anthony that almost happened a few weeks before that on the night of the 2017 NBA Draft. Anthony claims that he and George were scheduled to be dealt to the Cavaliers in deals that would have put Anthony, George, and LeBron James on the same team during the upcoming season. But that trade was also called off before it was finalized.

“It was funny because me and PG was supposed to be in Cleveland on draft night,” he said on SiriusXM. “We were communicating about that. The deal was actually done, and it got called off on draft night, so me and PG stayed connected throughout the course of the [offseason]. We never even talked about OKC, though.”

It’s pretty crazy to think about how all of this played out. And it’s also pretty crazy to think about what might have happened if Anthony had been traded to either the Cavaliers or Rockets. It could have affected where a bunch of other players, including guys like Kyrie Irving and Dwyane Wade, landed. And it could have shaken up the NBA even more this summer. What an offseason.

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