Trading Dion Waiters and multiple picks for Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov initially relayed a controversial rep for the Cavaliers. However, the driving force to these criticisms was carried by the momentum of their disappointing play. Naturally, high-strung media sources exacerbated the rumors, pegging the franchise’s issues around player-coach drama and a saturated administration. Basically, people thought Cleveland was desperate and somewhat impulsive when they made the trades, which is true to an extent; but what really caused the slump, and therefore triggered the trades, was quite surprising: a complete lack of confidence in the roster by the players themselves. Chris Haynes of reports:

“Under the condition of anonymity, members of the Cavaliers’ roster admitted that they had lost faith due to the lack of depth and structure of the roster. A handful of players said they came to the realization that the roster, as it was constructed prior to the trades, wasn’t equipped to go any further than the second round, if that.

One player claimed the frustration of an “unbalanced roster probably contributed” to the team’s poor body language and effort level they were putting out. Another player vehemently said “it was never Coach [David] Blatt’s fault.”

After convincingly winning five straight games, including a 39-point rout of the Charlotte Hornets, the Cavaliers have not only dissolved lackluster rumors but have reestablished their championship expectations. Mozgov and Smith (A Sixth Man Stater?!) have played the best basketball of their careers in the Wine and Gold, while Shumpert has made a speedy recovery and return in order to assimilate himself with the team as soon as possible. Now, the body language is, in a word: awesome. Even the foreshadowing rumors that these new additions would struggle to mesh are sinking before the internet can save them:

The Cavs are rolling. With recent investments profiting and a city in frenzy, Cleveland is back.