LeBron James in danger of taking on too much in Cleveland

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LeBron James is not only the best basketball player in the world, not only the league's one player/GM/head coach, but also apparently the NBA's very own Mr Motivator.

The Cleveland Cavaliers star has his team on a roll in 2015, as we detailed earlier this week in a post on LeBron's impressive first season back in Ohio.

The missing link though, was the lack of collaboration between James and the man Cleveland mortgaged the future for to partner with him, Kevin Love.

The former Timberwolves forward has been out of sorts since he was swapped for Andrew Wiggins and a bunch of other assets, posting his worst shooting night of the season earlier this month when he went 1-7 from the floor against the 76ers.

He didn't attempt a shot after the first quarter.

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That led to a back and forth in the media over Love's 'confidence'.

And that continued this weekend, when LeBron sent out a mysteriously cryptic tweet before the Cavs game against the LA Lakers on Sunday.

LeBron initially denied that the tweet was directed at Love, but after the 120-105 win over the Lakers, he was asked again after reporters recalled Love was quoted using the terms 'fit in' and fit out' back in October.


"It's not a coincidence, man," James said. When asked if he was speaking on the record, James added: "Ain't nothing off the record. I know everything that comes out of my mouth. If I say it, it's on the record."

While it's slightly worrying that LeBron feels the need to publicly call out a high profile teammate, it seems to have worked.

Love had his best game last night as a Cavalier, scoring 32 points on 7-8 shooting from three point range. He also added 10 rebounds and three assists, while he turned the ball over just once.

It was the first time that the Cavs' fabled trio - LeBron, Kyrie and Kevin - all clicked in the same game.

Did LeBron's tweet fire up Love? Well, after the game the former-UCLA standout claimed he wasn't aware of any social media update from The King.

LeBron's role in Cleveland

There was plenty of joking early in the season that LeBron was coach and GM of this Cavaliers team, the price Dan Gilbert paid to bring him back home.

But with each passing day it looks more and more accurate. Not only is LeBron sub-tweeting his teammates, but he's coaching them too.

"When he's knocking down shots like that, it just spreads the offense out even more and the defense has to pay even more attention to him," James said. "We wanted to keep going to him. I drew up a few sets for him in the timeout when he had the hot hand. I wanted to keep going to him."

It's well reported that he lobbied for Love to join the Cavs, reportedly playing the part of GM by urging the organisation to trade away number one pick Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota to make it happen.

Oh, then there's his day job as an actual NBA player - last night he had 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Love's 'lack of touches' has been documented by us before, we looked at his role in this Cavs offense versus his performances for the Timberwolves last week.

After his five-point outing against the Sixers recently, it's noticeable that LeBron is looking to get his power forward more looks.

For the greater good

LeBron is all about the team, even going as far to claim last week that he'd be happy coming off the bench if it means the Cavs win.

"I'll come off the bench," the four-time MVP said. "I'm serious. I'll come off the bench and, if it helps our team, that's what it's about. It's about a team and how we all fit together.

That's a nice sentiment.

In Miami he was conscious of his role within the Big Three. Clearly he was the alpha male, but LeBron's shrewd enough to know that he will only win games if the other big names (Love and Kryie) are similarly invested. Just like Bosh and Wade were. He can't do it all alone.

LeBron on his game remains the most brutal force in the basketball world, but he's in danger of taking on too much.

With the trade talk, that was understandable and easy to brush off. Obviously LeBron wants to win now, it's unlikely Wiggins would have helped push the needle for the Cavs, at least for the first two seasons.

And for all the speculation about his relationship with David Blatt - remember the sideline bump? - nobody really believed LeBron would undermine his coach or a teammate.

But now this. It looks like it could be a genius move after Love's breakout game against the Lakers, but it's still a massive risk. Love is an All-Star, it's doubtful he enjoys being called out for his performance so publicly.

And it's unlikely Blatt appreciates LeBron's 'coaching' duties, even if LeBron's only trying to do it for the best of the team.

To LeBron's part, he's already distanced himself.

The Cavs are rolling right now, they've won 13 of their last 14 games. Championship form as we come to the All-Star break.

LeBron has look refreshed after his injury enforced absence, clearly the heart and soul of this team he holds the key to their potential.

Everything he does, he does for one reason - to win. It would be foolish to question that after four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals.

But he's got to be careful, he's in danger of taking on too much. LeBron is paid to be an NBA player, and by focussing on that, he gives the Cavs the best chance to win a Championship.

Not by tweeting, or coaching, or 'playing GM'. By playing.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
LeBron James

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