The Cleveland Cavaliers remain the best team in the eastern conference and if they end up winning a championship this season, a players-only meeting held in January may end up being a defining moment in the title run.
The Cavaliers reportedly held a players-only meeting following the firing of David Blatt and since that time, the Cavs have gone 4-1 and have looked like a completely different team. The firing of Blatt was a surprise to many around the league since the Cavaliers were the top team in the east, but for anyone around the Cavs, the move was not much of a shock.
The Cavaliers offense appeared stagnant and Kevin Love was not getting involved in things, leading many to wonder if the big man would be traded. But since the firing of Blatt, Love has started to play much better and the team has won some big games, including a blowout against the San Antonio Spurs. According to ESPN.com, Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst report that the Cavaliers held the players-only meeting following a meeting called by general manager David Griffin to tell the team that Blatt was fired.
ESPN reports that a source said that that the meeting "was like ripping off a scab" and that it was "exactly what needed to happen" for the Cavaliers to be successful this season. The source added that it was "healthy for the team" and that it "probably needed to happen weeks ago." A good example of the effect of the meeting comes from a detail in the report, with Windhorst and Lowe writing that the Cavs locker room had a better mood the game after the meeting (a loss to the Bulls) than the mood was after a win a couple days earlier against the Clippers.
ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin reported that James, Irving and Love led the meeting among the players and that it put out some issues that had been simmering for the team all season. The Cavaliers are built to make a title run and now the team looks as if they are taking the form they expected at the beginning of the season. The trade talk around Love has died down and the team looks more motivated on offense and defense with Tyronn Lue taking over for Blatt.
The Cavaliers remain the best team in the eastern conference and if they keep playing this way, they could end up as champs. The team also may look at adding some depth at the trade deadline, as the Cavs have multiple trade exceptions to use this season. One player the team could consider is Channing Frye, as the Sporting News reports that the Magic are considering making a deal with the veteran. Frye has an affordable contract at $15.2 million over the next two years and he could be a solid bench option for the Cavs.