After the Cleveland Cavaliers lost on Monday, 124-122, to the New Orleans Pelicans without All-Star big man Anthony Davis, LeBron James blasted the team for failing to improve the roster that won an NBA championship last season.
Last summer, while, the Golden State Warriors signed former MVP Kevin Durant and deepened their front court with David West,Zaza Pachulia , and JaVale McGee, the Cavaliers allowed Matthew Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov to walk in free agency. Cleveland’s only additions were rookie guard Kay Felder and Mike Dunleavy, who was later dealt for Kyle Korver.
“We’re not better than last year. From a personnel standpoint,” James said, according to ESPN.
“The f—ing grind of the regular season. We’re a top-heavy team. We have a top-heavy team. We top-heavy as is—. It’s me, [Kyrie Irving], [Kevin Love]. It’s top-heavy.”
James, Irving, and Love account for 70.5 of Cleveland’s 109.6 points per game. The four-time MVP leads the NBA in minutes per game (37.5) and averages just 6.4 assists when Cavaliers lose again. Cleveland’s problem compounded in mid-December when J.R.Smith broke his right thumb. He has missed 17 games since then, 22 in total, and is expected to miss at least another two months recovering. Cleveland is 14-8 without Smith in the lineup this season and 16-5 with him.
In his absence, the Cavaliers have played fourth-year wing Deandre Liggins, who is averaging just three points in 16.3 minutes per game.
“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 the trees. I didn’t say that.
“I’m not singling out anybody. I’m not. Yeah, we won [the championship], but f—, you know what, let’s see if we can do something.”
The Cavaliers have won just two of their last seven games, a stretch that features losses to New Orleans, Golden State, Utah, Portland, and San Antonio without both Paul Gasol and Tony Parker.
James listed minimum-salary players Cleveland could have signed this summer, according to ESPN. That list includes Raymond Felton (who signed with the Clippers) and Michael Beasley (who signed with the Bucks).
“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 haven’t got time to waste. That’s what I’m talking about.
“We got to figure it out,” he said. “It’s been a s—ty 2017 so far.”