The Cavs found themselves down by 20 points just before halftime, and despite 49 points from Kyrie Irving as well as a triple double from James, the Cavs came up short against a Pelicans outfit who was without their best player in Anthony Davis.
After logging another 43 minutes, James didn’t mince his words when asked about the Cavs’ recent struggles, and the need for a backup point guard in an expletive-filled response, via ESPN:
“I just hope that we’re not satisfied as an organization,” James told the small group of beat reporters who travel regularly to cover Cleveland’s road games. “I just hope we’re not satisfied.”
“We’re not better than last year,” he said. “From a personnel standpoint.”
James then listed a number of free agents the Cavs could have pursued including now-Los Angeles Clippers guard Raymon Felton, and Michael Beasley, who has signed with the Milwaukee Bucks for this season.
James then eluded to the fact he thinks this Cavs roster isn’t up to scratch to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy again as of right now.
“It’s great to have bodies,” James said. “Obviously, in the playoffs, you go down to what, eight max? And if somebody gets in foul trouble, you go to nine. You’re not playing back-to-backs. You have two days in between. You’re able to lock in.”
“It’s like when you don’t have bodies. It’s tough,” James said. “The f—ing grind of the regular season. We’re a top-heavy team. We have a top-heavy team. We top-heavy as s—. It’s me, [Kyrie Irving], [Kevin Love]. It’s top-heavy.”
The Cavs have lost five of their last seven games, and James continued his unfiltered rant as he discussed the need for another playmaker, which has been his mantra in recent weeks.
“I’m not singling out anybody,” James said. “I’m not. Yeah, we won [the championship], but f—, you know what, let’s see if we can do something.”
“We need a f—ing playmaker,” James said. “I’m not saying you can just go find one, like you can go outside and see trees. I didn’t say that.”
He knows how important it is to have personnel that are ready to contribute come playoff time, not just numbers filling the roster sheet.
James went on to discuss the need to continue to mix it with the best with readily productive players.
“They’ve got bodies,” James said of San Antonio when asked about the Spurs’ beating the Cavs without Pau Gasol or Tony Parker. “They’ve got bodies. For the most part, all championship-contending teams has got guys that are ready to step in. Knock on wood, what if Ky goes down? For two weeks. Let’s say two. What if I went down for three weeks?”
James was visibly frustrated with how last night’s game panned out, and stated there were no signs from the Cavs that they could handle the load with himself and Irving on the bench.
“What else are we going to do?” James said. “You saw the game. Kyrie had to do that. And I tried to mix in my plays. We didn’t have no choice. … We got what we got.”
After making six straight NBA finals and in his 14th season in which no player in NBA history has played more minutes at this point in his career, the four-time MVP understands that the time is now to make things happen in the championship window.
“I don’t know what we got to offer,” James said. “I just know me, personally? I don’t got no time to waste. I’ll be 33 in the winter, and I ain’t got time to waste. That’s what I’m talking about.”
“Listen, when I feel like physically and mentally, me personally, can’t compete for a championship no more or I feel like I can’t do it, then I won’t have this problem. But until that happens, and it don’t seem like no time soon …”
For someone as successful as James, it is unlike his teams to lose five out of seven games. He is a fierce competitor, and hates to lose no matter the circumstance. James is not happy at the moment, and the Cavs front office needs to push the right buttons in order for the franchise to continue to move forward.
It’s been a rocky start to the New Year, and James summed it up perfectly.
“We got to figure it out,” he said. “It’s been a s—ty 2017 so far.”
Look for the Cavs to right this wrong sooner rather than later, as the king continues to force their hand in the hopes of improving for their title defense come June.