The latest round of social media nonsense from LeBron James is further proof that the Cleveland Cavaliers didn't need a coaching change, but rather Dr. Phil.
Look at the Eastern Conference standings and all seems good in Northeast Ohio. At 42-17, the Cavaliers sit atop the Eastern Conference. Don't let appearances fool you.
Cleveland remains the East favorite, yet something smells rotten along Lake Erie. We caught a whiff of dysfunction when the Wizards romped the James-less Cavaliers Sunday, one day after the omnipresent and uber fan favorite Stephen Curry added to his legacy and status as the NBA's best. Then came a passive aggressive stench as the week progressed, one attention-seeking subtweet* at a time.
[For those not familiar, per Google, a subtweet is "a post that refers to a particular user without directly mentioning them, typically as a form of furtive mockery or criticism. Let's move on]
Sunday: The Cavs went down 30 points before losing 113-99 at Washington. "Our top leader isn’t playing tonight," guard and second fiddle Kyrie Irving said. "It’s another opportunity for guys to step in and relish that opportunity. But our intensity level just wasn’t there.”
Monday: ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported that an unhappy Irving would ideally "prefer to be someplace other than Cleveland.” Irving semi-debunked the report after Monday's win over Indiana. Meanwhile, it appears Kevin Love's posse didn't check in with Stephen A.
Tuesday: One day after the report of Irving's unhappiness, James revved up the cryptic Tweet machine:
It's ok to know you've made a mistake. Cause we all do at times. Just be ready to live with whatever that comes with it and be with.....
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 1, 2016
those who will protect you at all cost!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 1, 2016
Was this about Irving? Maybe. Sure seems like it. We won't know for sure because James typically acts incredulous when asked for clarification on something he put out there. (Hold that thought.)
Wednesday: With Cleveland off until Friday's home matchup against the Wizards, coach Tyronn Lue gave the players Tuesday and Wednesday off. Neat. James decided he wanted out of town. Sure, it's Cleveland in March, got it. His destination? Miami. For the average Joe picking a South Florida winter trip, no explanation required. For James, yeah, it's a little weird seeing as he spent four seasons playing professionally there in between stints with the Cavaliers. Eh, whatever. It's not like he's going back for good, not before he wins for "the Land."
Wait, he's hanging out with Dwyane Wade? He's working out with his ex-teammate and possible playoff foe during the season? He's hanging with his buddy one day after possibly bashing a current teammate?
Thursday: James didn't want to address chilling with Wade when he returned to practice. Shocker. From the Akron Beacon Journal:
"I don't care," James said after Cavs practice Thursday when asked about the perception of him spending time with a potential playoff foe during the season.
"What do I go there for? Go there 'cause I want to," James said.
Fine, whatever. He needed some R&R. Hung out with an old friend at his old stomping grounds. As long he addresses those tweets, all good.
Oh, wait, James didn't want to provide specifics on that either???
James declined to offer an explanation; however, he said that it had nothing to do with the Cavs, as some had speculated.
"I don't want to explain it and no, [it wasn't] directed at a teammate," James said.
So James chose an incredibly public forum -- guy has 28 million followers and even if he had a pedestrian 5,000 or so, it's out there for the world to notice -- to say something to someone about something but then won't say what the what. Gotcha.
Fine, whatever. This is silly. Cleveland remains poised for another Finals appearance. Clearly there's a rough patch now. He took a break, hopefully got his mind right and put the Twitter machine away before -- NO WAY. HE SUBTWEETED AGAIN.
Can't replace being around great friends that reciprocate the same energy back to you in all facets of life
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 3, 2016
James might as well have come back from Miami with a "BFF Forever" collage of him and Wade with pictures of Irving and Love X'd out. Later in the day he did receive an award as Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February with Curry winning out West.
The league belongs to Curry now. All the attention is focused on what's happening with Golden State. The Cavaliers are good and maybe better than that, but they're not on the same level as the Warriors or San Antonio Spurs, not now. Such realizations surely sting to those who see one of their final chances at being the best player on a title team slipping away.
Of course, James wanted back in Cleveland. He basically picked the roster. We've got the letter to prove it. Perhaps sharing his kingly wisdom with Irving and Love rather than auditioning for Mean Girls 2 would help. With David Blatt no longer around following his abrupt firing earlier this season, new whipping boys are required.
There's only one thing left to say.
A video posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Feb 21, 2016 at 8:20pm PST
Suck it up, LeBron.