James believes the team has throttled spending, and isn’t effectively allocating its resources, despite the fact that the Cavs have spent the most money in the NBA over the last three years, and paid $54 million in luxury tax alone last season.
Earlier this week, James talked to reporters and tweeted about his frustrations with the Cavs’ losing streak, seeming to pin it on the organization not providing the right pieces to repeat last year’s championship.
There’s been an open roster spot since Mike Dunleavy and Mo Williams were traded to the Hawks in exchange for Kyle Korver, and the Cavs have trade exceptions they could absorb salaries into, but James also has some thoughts on players the Cavs didn’t go after during the offseason:
In addition to his displeasure about spending, James has hinted he’s upset at some of the way the back end of the roster was assembled. On Monday, James mentioned that veterans like Raymond Felton and Michael Beasley signed contracts for the league minimum with other teams in the offseason. He also referenced veteran Dahntay Jones, who was on the Cleveland roster for the playoffs and was released in the preseason.
The Cavs have young, less experienced players like Kay Felder, DeAndre Liggins and Jordan McRae on their roster.
“No disrespect to DeAndre and to Kay, you think we can rely on them to help us win a playoff game right now?” James said. “And it’s no disrespect to them. But it’s like, it’s not fair to them.”
General Manager David Griffin strongly disagreed with James’s characterization:
Griffin said those options remain on the table, but he also made it clear he didn’t feel the team needed to spend.
“We can absolutely increase payroll if it’s the right piece at the right time. I’ve never once been given a mandate of any kind, relative to money,” Griffin said. “We’re not going to do something where we go ask for more money unless we believe it makes us appreciably better. ... As we have all along, ownership will do what needs to be done.”
Wherever this is headed, it’s got to be frustrating for all parties to ride through the Cavs’ rough stretch over the last eight games, made worse by last night’s loss to the Sacramento Kings.