CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Despite ending a 3-game slide Friday night, the Cavaliers have still had themselves a tough January.
And that is perfectly fine with LeBron James who hopes it will help them between April and June.
Friday night’s 124-116 win over the Brooklyn Nets was just the third in the last 9 games for the Cavs, who are 5-7 this month and did what they were supposed to do in beating the lowly 9-win Nets.
After the game that saw James score a game-high 31 points, he spoke about why he thinks what they are going through right now is actually beneficial to the team.
“I think it’s great,” James said. “The road to a championship or the road to success shouldn’t be a bed of roses. It’s never been my road and I don’t know why I should expect anything different.
“Having bumps in the road, I think it builds character and I think it’s good for our team and I think it’s good for every individual as well.”
Following the 124-122 overtime loss in New Orleans Monday night James stirred up the latest controversy by saying the Cavs need another playmaker and he questioned whether or not the organization was satisfied with just 1 championship and the commitment to winning from a financial standpoint.
James’ comments drew criticism from former All Star and current TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley Thursday night.
“LeBron is the ultimate competitor,” head coach Tyronn Lue said. “He wants to win and when you want to win you want to get more guys in and make the team better. Everyone wants to make the team better and you’re always looking for ways to do that. I said it before, Golden State won 73 games last year and they go and add Kevin Durant. You always want to get better if you can.
“Right now we’re not at that point where we can right now so we have to play and go with what we have right now. As far as him not being a competitor because he wants more players that doesn’t make sense.”
James hasn’t backed down because he never stops looking to get better – individually or from a team perspective – which plays a significant part in what he had to say.
“He has to do that. I mean, it’s good for the ratings,” James said of Barkley’s comments. “That makes no sense in the world. Ever since I picked up a basketball at age 9, I’ve competed every single time. You can never question that about me. But that’s Charles. He’s the guy who has to sit on a panel and say stuff like that. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. That means absolutely nothing.”
What is perceived by many to be a problem, in James’ world really isn’t and some within the Cavs organization understand this.
With James on the roster comes great responsibility and the Cavs do not shy away from it. General manager David Griffin accepts the challenge of surrounding James with the best of the best because James’ legacy is at stake.
Three championships, including ending the longest title drought for any sports city in America that boasts 3 professional franchises, is not enough to satisfy James.
James thrives in chaos, even if it has to be self-created and only time will tell if what was said this week was just all part of his master plan. Remember last March he sent out a bunch of cryptic tweets and unfollowed the Cavs on social media causing a firestorm before he met with both Griffin and Lue.
This week James has spoken to Griffin and Lue multiple times. Whether or not what he said Monday night pays off in another title in June remains to be seen.
“We will make the playoffs,” James said. “If we can play well in the first round and possibly make it to May, but that’s not guaranteed. What we can do and control right now is how we continue to improve every day. And if we do that, we’ll be fine.”