Cavaliers Rumors: Multiple Players Doubt They Can Fix Problems and Win NBA Title

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers players, from left to right, LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Love, JR Smith and Jae Crowder take a break during a review in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

Multiple Cleveland Cavaliers players are reportedly doubtful they will be able to work out their issues and win an NBA championship this season. 

According to ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin, "several prominent players" told ESPN, Cleveland.com and The Athletic on the condition of anonymity that patience may not be enough to get the Cavs back to being title contenders.

Cleveland fell 118-108 to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night, marking its fourth consecutive loss and ninth defeat in the past 12 games.

The Cavaliers are third in the Eastern Conference at 26-17. They trail the Boston Celtics by 7.5 games for first and the Toronto Raptors by four games for second.

Isaiah Thomas' return from a hip injury hasn't provided the Cavs with as big of a boost as expected, as he is averaging just 13.6 points and 3.4 assists in five contests.

Aside from LeBron James' 27.3 points, 8.8 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game and Kevin Love's near-double-double average of 19.2 points and 9.6 rebounds, Cleveland has had a lack of standout performers in the wake of the Kyrie Irving trade.

The Cavs have reached the NBA Finals in three straight seasons, losing to the Warriors twice and beating them once to win the championship in 2015-16.

Things appear different this time, though, with Irving in Boston.

Also, the Cavs are 29th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, per NBA.com. No team in the bottom two of that stat has ever reached the playoffs, per ESPN Stats & Info (h/t McMenamin).

Among the issues Cavs players see with the team are "an aging roster, defensively challenged personnel and a glut of redundant role players," according to McMenamin.

Given some of those issues, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported a source told him the Cavaliers would "definitely" make at least one trade before the deadline.

The Cavaliers aren't in danger of missing the playoffs, but they are closer to the ninth seed (4.5 games up) than they are the top seed, which suggests a continuation of their slide could make for some uncomfortable moments.

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