Different Mistake
Sports Illustrated|November 19 - 26, 2018
Different Mistake

No, the most hapless team in Cleveland isn’t the Browns (who may have found a quarterback)—it’s the Cavaliers, who no longer have LEBRON JAMES to mask their franchise-wide dysfunction.

Rob Mahoney

THE CAVALIERS, not to be outdone by the Wizards, the Timberwolves—or even their neighbors, the NFL’s Browns (page 30)—have made dysfunction an operating principle. It’s not enough to be a bad basketball team. Cleveland is the sort of bad basketball team that re-signs a star player, Kevin Love, to a four-year, $120 million deal under the pretense of remaining competitive, then starts 1–11. It’s the sort of bad basketball team that fires its coach six games into the season only to be left, for a time, with no one in charge.

After Tyronn Lue was dismissed following an 0–6 start, assistant Larry Drew refused to accept the interim role until his contract was renegotiated. At his urging, the team reportedly offered a partial guarantee for next season—a parting gift in the event that Drew, like both of his predecessors, is unceremoniously axed. Drew’s insistence was an indictment oftheficklewhimsthatseemtoguidetheCavs.This is the sort of outfit that manages to both alienate its veterans and sell out its younger players; to irk long-tenured coaches to the point of litigation (63-year-old former assistant Jim Boylan filed an age discrimination suit last week); to botch what seems to be every major decision for a month.

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November 19 - 26, 2018