Things are getting ugly in Cleveland.
The Cavaliers held a players-only meeting following Wednesday's 29-point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, multiple sources told ESPN.com. But the meeting got contentious, and players confronted each other, according to sources.
It also appears as though Dion Waiters was one of the primary culprits.
The shooting guard isn't traveling with the team because of an illness, but yikes—as if his 39.8 percent shooting from the field and failure to establish any sort of consistency at the charity stripe weren't bad enough already.
That said, let's not pin all the blame on Waiters. It's easy to see what's at the heart of this problem.
The Cavaliers aren't just failing to meet the expectations that swarmed around this team before the start of the 2013-14 campaign, they're letting them pass by with plenty of breathing room. Mired in a three-game losing streak with a matchup against the desperate Washington Wizards coming up, there just aren't many positives.
Remember, Cleveland was supposed to be a playoff team. Irving said so himself, telling The News Herald's Bob Finnan, "By the end of the season, hopefully, we’re in contention for a playoff spot."
The dynamic point guard also discussed how statistics don't matter, but unfortunately, that's just not true. It matters quite a bit that he's shooting only 38 percent from the field and has struggled to keep control of the ball, making his 19.3 points and 7.2 assists per game feel rather empty.
Now that's exactly the mentality that Cleveland has to adopt at this early stage of the season. But, as every child learns growing up, actions speak louder than words.
In case that isn't enough of a cliche already, it's time for the Cavs to put their money where their collective mouth is.
A contentious players-only meeting can end up being a good thing if it's viewed in the right light. If the players involved learn from it and use it as a way to turn things around, then those harsh words and confrontations can have positive repercussions.
That's the key word. It's by no means a guarantee, and it's just as common for such a meeting to further submerge an already-sinking ship. Perhaps more common, even.
Jodie Valade of The Plain Dealer tried to keep things in perspective before the loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, writing, "Anyone who expected miracles immediately probably was thinking a bit loftily." And it's important to maintain that mentality.
There's still plenty of time for Irving and the Cavaliers to rebound, but now, they have to bounce back from this meeting as well.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!