The Cleveland Cavaliers suffered another loss and the news and trade rumors are picking up.
Check out the latest buzz below.
LeBron After Loss
LeBron James said that there’s going to be a process integrating himself and the other new players on the Cavs after a brutal 101-82 loss to the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
“We have to understand what it takes to win. It’s going to be a long process, man. There’s been a lot of losing basketball around here for a few years. So a lot of guys that are going to help us win ultimately haven’t played a lot of meaningful basketball games in our league,” James said, reported ESPN.
“When we get to that point when every possession matters , no possessions off — we got to share the ball, we got to move the ball, we got to be a team and be unselfish — we’ll be a better team.”
James didn’t call out any teammates specifically but seemed to refer to Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, who shot badly.
“There’s a lot of bad habits; a lot of bad habits have been built up over the last couple of years and when you play that style of basketball it takes a lot to get it up out of you,” James said. “But I’m here to help and that’s what it’s about.”
“I’m just trying to do other things,” James said, referring to scoring.
“I’m trying to instill what it takes to win. My mission is not a one-game thing. We have to do multiple things in order to win. We have to share the ball. We’ve got to play defense. We’ve got to sacrifice in order to ultimately win. Obviously, when you’re going through the process, it’s not the best part of it. But I’m looking at the end of the tunnel.”
He was asked by USA Today how long it will take for the team to figure it out.
“Hopefully not too long. It can go on for a couple of months until we’re all on the same page and know exactly where we need to be both offensively and defensively and we buy in what it takes to win,” James said.
“A lot of people get it misconstrued on what it takes to win — just scoring or just going out and trying to will it yourself. It’s a team game. You have to rely on your teammates as well. We will get an understanding of that as time goes.”
Thompson May Leave Cavs
Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao were both offered contract extensions by the Cavaliers, but only Varejao signed.
The Cavs believe they made a fair offer to Thompson, and that he might be trying to leave the team as a restricted free agent.
“The Cavs did feel they budged a little in the last-minute negotiations with Thompson on Friday. They offered Thompson more than $48 million over four years. Agent Rich Paul is gambling that Thompson can get more than that on the open market,” reported Fox Sports.
Paul is also LeBron’s agent.
Fox did say that things are still cool between Thompson and the Cavs.
“No harm, no foul, and no contention or awkward feelings from the Cavs or Thompson’s camp. It’s just business as usual, and Thompson can focus on just playing basketball now — and his contract in July.”
Thompson addressed the situation.
“I’m just focused on helping my team win,” he told Cleveland.com. “If I can do that, we’ll be fine.”
The Cavs haven’t had a lot of trade rumors but there has been some speculation that Thompson or Varejao could end up on the trading block.
Rant Sports notes that Thompson’s seeking such a big contract means that he should be traded.
“Thompson wants the type of extension that dominant forwards like Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets and Derrick Favors of the Utah Jazz received this summer. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers aren’t willing to make that type of long-term financial commitment, especially because it would cut into the 2016 free agency,” it said.
“Due to how well Thompson played last season (11.7 points/ 9.2 rebounds), this would be the perfect opportunity for the Cavaliers to find a suitable team to trade him to. Not only would Thompson bring back a quality player in return, he might also give the Cavaliers more financial breathing room heading into a star-studded 2016 free agency. The Cavaliers could trade for another forward that averages close to Thompson’s numbers, but one that is older and has an expiring contract over the next two years.”
Blazers Beat Cavs 101-82
PORTLAND, Ore.—Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts took it upon himself to address Damian Lillard’s night.
“You don’t have to ask what’s wrong with Damian anymore,” Stotts said. “Actually, you don’t ever have to ask.”
That question was better asked about LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
Lillard had a breakthrough with 27 points and Portland regained last season’s form with a 101-82 victory.
The Blazers, who snapped a brief two-game losing streak, held James to just 11 points.
Lillard had been nursing an abdominal strain but he started nonetheless and collected 15 points by halftime — after averaging just 13.7 points on 11-for-41 shooting in the first three games. The All-Star averaged 20.7 points last season.
“It’s the same game that I have been playing,” Lillard explained. “The only difference was the shots went in.”
The Cavaliers, playing the first of a three-game Western Conference road swing, hadn’t played since a 114-108 overtime victory at Chicago on Friday. They started fast but were doomed by poor-shooting nights by James (4 of 12) and Kyrie Irving (3 of 17).
“We have to understand what it takes to win. It’s going to be a long process. There’s been a lot of losing basketball around here for a few years,” James said.
Wesley Matthews finished with 21 points for Portland.
“It felt really good to get back into the swing of things,” Matthews said, “and back to us.”
Kevin Love, who grew up in Oregon and played at Lake Oswego High School south of Portland, had his third straight double-double for Cleveland (1-2) with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Love and LaMarcus Aldridge — who finished with 16 points — battled much of the way.
The Cavaliers made their first 10 shots and James hit consecutive 3-pointers to put Cleveland up 27-20 early. The Blazers answered with a 9-0 run.
Lillard hit a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws and Portland led 55-50 at the break. He opened the second half with a dunk.
Portland stretched the lead to 67-54 on Aldridge’s layup and led 76-69 going into the fourth. The Blazers led by as many as 19 points in the final period.
James urged patience.
“It’s like building a car from scratch. I’ve done that before,” he said. “I hated the process, it got on my nerves. I sent it back to get repainted 100 times. But once it was completely finished I was excited about it.”
Lillard finished with five 3-pointers on 10 attempts and was a perfect 10 of 10 from the free throw line. That tied his career mark for most free throws in a game without a miss.
“I knew that eventually the ball would go in,” he said. “I just had to stick with it.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.