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Friday, May 18, 2018

A Timeline of the Cavs' Bizarre 2017-18 Season in 45 Storylines

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2018 at 8:35 AM

click to enlarge YOUTUBE/ESPN
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Ever since the Cavaliers lost the 2017 Finals to the Golden State Warriors in five games, the organization has been in flux, from not bringing back the general manager who built the 2016 Championship roster to moving star guard Kyrie Irving for peanuts and everything in between. How crazy has this last season been? You might have a vague sense, but it becomes crystal clear when you track the headlines.

June 19th, 2017: Just days after losing in the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers and beloved General Manager David Griffin "mutually" parted ways. Griffin put together the roster to bring the Cavaliers the first Championship in their 48-year history and was let go exactly a year after winning the ring.

July 3rd, 2017: After two weeks of mulling over an offer to become the next GM of the Cavaliers, former Detroit Pistons' star Chauncey Billups declined the offer. July 1st began NBA free agency and the team was left in limbo while waiting for Billups.

July 21st, 2017: Superstar point guard Kyrie Irving's trade request becomes public and the Cavaliers don't have a General Manager in place.
Later that day, Koby Altman, third in charge during David Griffin's tenure, is named General Manager, three weeks into NBA free agency. He was operating as the interim for the first three weeks.



July 24th, 2017: The Cavaliers sign former MVP Derrick Rose, a potential sign that Irving may be on his way out of town.

August 22nd, 2017: Kyrie Irving is traded to Boston for injured guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, rookie Ante Zizic and a first round pick from the Brooklyn Nets that the Celtics owned. The pick is said to be the prized possession of the trade and could fall in the top 3 based on Brooklyn's projected season outlook. The night of the trade, Crowder's mother passes away after a battle with cancer.

August 25th, 2017: The other centerpiece of the Irving trade, Isaiah Thomas, is given a physical exam and it's revealed that his hip injury is much worse than the team originally thought. For about a week, the team thinks about asking for more from the Celtics or canceling the trade, but they stick with it and end up getting just an extra second round pick out of the deal. Thomas doesn't debut for the team until January.

August 29th, 2017: Isaiah Thomas tells ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski that his injury isn't career threatening. That he even had to say that is concerning.

September 23, 2017: After President Donald Trump criticizes Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry for not visiting the White House to celebrate his team's 2017 Championship, LeBron James calls Trump a "bum" in a tweet:


September 26th, 2017: LeBron James' best friend and former teammate Dwyane Wade signs a one-year deal with the Cavaliers.

October 11th, 2017: Guard J.R. Smith is "absolutely" frustrated by being moved to the bench in favor of newcomer Dwyane Wade and the chemistry on the team begins to crumble. Smith is moved back into the starting role after two weeks of the team struggling.

October 13th, 2017: The Cavaliers trade fan favorite forward Richard Jefferson to the Atlanta Hawks, jettisoning one-third of the adored Road Trippin' Podcast crew..

October 16th, 2017: The team announces that they will have a video tribute to former Cavalier Kyrie Irving when they host Irving's new team, the Boston Celtics.

October 17th, 2017: The team doesn't show the video tribute of Irving, reportedly because some players were upset that they were paying tribute to the guy who wanted to leave.

November 11th, 2017: The Cavaliers begin the season with a dismal 5-7 record. They beat the Dallas Mavericks on the 11th and go on to win a total of 13 straight games and 18 out of 19, all with Tristan Thompson, Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert and Thomas out with injuries.

November 24th, 2017: Injured guard Derrick Rose, brought in to be insurance for Kyrie Irving replacement Isaiah Thomas, abruptly steps away from the team and reportedly considers retiring.

November 28th, 2017: In a home win vs. the Miami Heat, LeBron James is ejected from a game for the first time in his career.

December 4th, 2017: Rose returns to the team. He got married while he was away. Good for him.

December 21st, 2017: Coach Tyronn Lue misses his first game of the season with an unspecified illness.

January 2nd, 2018: Isaiah Thomas finally debuts for the Cavaliers in a home win against the Portland Trailblazers. Thomas is fantastic off the bench, putting in 17 points in 19 minutes. Unfortunately, it is one of the only successful games of Thomas' Cavaliers career.

January 22nd, 2018: With the Cavaliers struggling, they hold a team meeting. Reportedly, guards Dwayne Wade and Isaiah Thomas call out Kevin Love for leaving the game due to an illness and not returning in a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Love had a concussion. Team chemistry appears not great.

January 23rd, 2018: LeBron continues to cement his place in NBA history, as he becomes just the 7th player to reach 30,000 career points. That happens in a loss.

January 25th, 2018: Cleveland.com and Plain Dealer Cavaliers' beat reporter Joe Vardon reveals that Kyrie Irving threatened the Cavaliers that he'd have knee surgery if he wasn't traded.

January 30th, 2018: All-Star Kevin Love fractures a bone in his hand. Isaiah Thomas says he exchanges frequent text messages with owner Dan Gilbert. The Cavaliers end January with a miserable 5-8 record.

February 2nd, 2018: An ESPN report comes out that says that in the upcoming offseason, LeBron may consider joining his main rival, the Golden State Warriors. LeBron calls the report "nonsense."

February 5th, 2018: Coach Tyronn Lue says there's "no doubt" the team will make the playoffs.

February 6th, 2018: Isaiah Thomas continues to rattle feathers by saying that the team isn't that good at making adjustments during the game, which is widely considered an insult to the coaching staff. Coach Lue says that's "not true" when asked if they don't make in-game adjustments.

February 7th, 2018: Embattled and struggling, Isaiah Thomas acknowledges his rough start but says he doesn't want the team to trade him. "I'm tired of being traded," says Thomas.

February 8th, 2018. The Cavaliers trade Thomas to the Los Angeles Lakers along with Channing Frye, who was widely credited for bringing much improved chemistry to the team in 2016, which helped lead the group to a title. The team also trades Dwyane Wade back home to Miami, Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder to Utah and Iman Shumpert to Sacramento. The Cavaliers receive four players; Rodney Hood from Utah, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Lakers and George Hill from the Sacramento Kings. To bring in four new players and trade six in the middle of the season is almost unprecedented for a team that hopes to compete for an NBA Championship.

February 9th, 2018: General Manager Koby Altman comments on the trades, saying that the team was "marching to a slow death" and the trades made the team fun again.

February 16th, 2018: Nick Gilbert, son of owner Dan Gilbert, recovers from brain surgery to remove a tumor as he continues to fight neurofibromatosis.

February 17th, 2018: In response to James calling the President a "bum," Fox News host Laura Ingraham tells LeBron that he should "shut up and dribble." LeBron says he will not do that.

February 22nd, 2018: ESPN reports that in late December and early January, LeBron had complained that GM Koby Altman hadn't joined the team on a long road trip, something former GM David Griffin did. The report notes Altman and his fiancee had recently welcomed their first child, who had experienced health problems.

March 1st, 2018: J.R. Smith is suspended by the team for one game for throwing a bowl of soup at assistant coach Damon Jones.

March 6th, 2018: Kevin Love pens an article for the Players' Tribune about his struggle with anxiety and mental health. The article is widely received as a positive in helping end the negative stigma around discussing mental health.

March 19th, 2018: Coach Lue steps away from the team to deal with unspecified health problems.

March 21st, 2018: Guard Kyle Korver's brother tragically passes away. His sudden death leads to Korver being excused from the team for a week.

April 4th, 2018: Lue returns to the team. They go 8-1 in his absence under lead assistant Larry Drew.

April 5th, 2018: After a couple games in the starting lineup, Lue says that forward Jeff Green will start the rest of the regular season and through the playoffs. He starts one game against the Pacers in the first round of the postseason and hasn't started since.

April 10th, 2018: TMZ and other gossip sources reveal that Cavaliers' center Tristan Thompson has been having multiple affairs while dating reality star Khloe Kardashian, who is pregnant with their child.

April 12th, 2018: Thompson and Kardashian's daughter True is born in Cleveland.

April 15th, 2018: The Cavaliers begin the playoffs. After 32 different starting lineups because of soup, injuries, trades and leaving the team unannounced to get married in the middle of the season, the team finally has a full roster of healthy players. They start their 33rd new lineup of the season.

April 24th, 2018: The team arrives to their first game in Indiana in matching Thom Browne suits. The pants are a bit short.


click to enlarge screen_shot_2018-05-17_at_1.53.38_pm.png

April 29th, 2018: As heavy favorites, the Cavaliers are forced to go to a 7th game vs. the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. They win by four.

May 7th, 2018: The team sweeps the No.1 seed Toronto Raptors to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

May 15th, 2018: The Cavaliers fall to the Boston Celtics, putting them down two games to none in the Eastern Conference Finals. Besides occasional contribution from starting point guard George Hill, the other three new Cavaliers that were acquired at the trade deadline contribute little to nothing through the first two plus rounds of the playoffs and all three are out of the rotation at different points. The other prize possession from the Kyrie Irving trade, the Brooklyn Nets draft pick, ends up as the 8th pick in the 2018 draft, exactly where it should've gone based on lottery odds, but a huge disappointment from where the team believed it could have landed when they acquired it. 

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