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Bulls, Cavaliers, ‘Melo, Jackson: Why So Much Unrest?

Bulls, Cavaliers, 'Melo, Jackson: Why So Much Unrest? Jeffery Hammersley/ via Flickr


Bulls, Cavaliers, ‘Melo, Jackson: Why So Much Unrest

Lately it seems that the NBA has a bit of unrest developing.  From the Chicago Bulls drama, Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson and even LeBron James seems to be unhappy.  What could be causing this sudden dissention?  Who is to blame for it all?  First let’s take a look at each situation and see if we can sort it all out.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls enter the 2016-17 season with hopes of moving past the Derrick Rose injury plagued era and on to bigger and better things.  Well they got half of it correct.  They managed to hang on to the Bigger half, but it has shown itself in the form of Bigger problems than they could have imagined.  After signing Chicago native and future Hall of Famer, Dwayne Wade you would think they would have headed in the right direction.  Again that turned out to be wrong too, at least so far. 

Earlier this week veterans Dwayne Wade and Jimmy Butler took to the media to discuss their displeasure with the younger Bulls players.

“I’m 35 years old, man. I have three (NBA) championships. It shouldn’t hurt me more than it hurts them. They have to want it.” said Wade

Jimmy Butler would follow suit with this statement:

“If you’re not (mad) after you lose every game, something’s wrong,” he said. “This is your job. This is supposed to be what you love to do. Not everybody looks at it this way. I want to play with guys who care and play hard and want to do well for this organization, that want to win games.”

One could look at this as guys trying to motivate their young teammates, but much like the Bulls plan, this plan didn’t go very well either.  Rajon Rondo decided he needed to get in on the action so he went to Instagram to share his thoughts.

“My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn’t pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn’t take days off. My vets didn’t care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn’t blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work. Even in Boston when we had the best record in the league, if we lost a game, you could hear a pin drop on the bus. They showed us the seriousness of the game. My vets didn’t have an influence on the coaching staff. They couldn’t change the plan because it didn’t work for them. I played under one of the greatest coaches, and he held everyone accountable. It takes 1-15 to win. When you isolate everyone, you can’t win consistently. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a bad teammate. My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don’t deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it’s the leadership.”

Attached to the message was a picture of Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Rondos Celtic days.  It didn’t take long for a response from D-Wade either.


And that about sums it up in Chicago, the mood is not good at all.  It has turned into a dumpster fire lately and doesn’t show signs that the fire will burn out anytime soon.  Next that brings us to Dwayne Wade’s old buddy and former teammate, LeBron James.


LeBron James

The Cleveland Cavaliers have went above and beyond to bring a Championship back to Cleveland.  Last season it all paid off as the Cav’s defeated the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Championship.  With Pieces like LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love who could possibly be unhappy?  Insert LeBron James here.  Earlier this week after the Cav’s had suffered losses in 6 of 8 previous games, James decided that he wanted owner Dan Gilbert to do more.

“We need a f—king playmaker,” James said.

“We’re not better than last year,” James told those reporters in New Orléans after the game, “from a personnel standpoint.”


Seems easy right?  Well it’s not that easy exactly.  According to ESPN.Com’s Brian Windhorst the Cleveland Cavaliers have spent more than any other team in salaries and luxury tax over the last three seasons.

Cav’s General Manager David Griffin had some different thoughts.

“We believe in this team at a deep level, and we need to get better from within and play better, quite frankly Griffin said. “We need to have a better sense of urgency and develop a Championship identity. I Think it’s clear we have not been doing that.”

There has been talk that the Cavaliers are once again catering to their star player and searching the league for pieces that will fit what James is asking for.  The problem for the Cav’s now is they don’t have the pieces to deal without giving up a Kevin Love.  So the drama will continue and now Dan Gilbert finds himself backed into a corner trying to please LeBron.  After all, LeBron is a free agent at the end of the season and Gilbert doesn’t want to lose him again.  Which brings us to another good friend of LeBron’s who has run into a few issues of his own, Carmelo Anthony.


Carmelo Anthony & Phil Jackson

When the New York Knicks hired Phil Jackson they did so under the assumption that his brilliance as a coach was transferable to the General Manager position.  Phil was one of the best at managing big personalities and molding them into a team.  Based on the looks of things it seems that it is not something you can transfer.  Phil was a master at talking around problems with the media and deflecting them away from paying attention to his players.  It looks like the old Phil is gone and the new Phil Jackson likes to use the media to shine a spotlight directly on his best players.

Earlier in the season Jackson commented to the media about his star player, Carmelo Anthony.

“Carmelo a lot of times wants to hold the ball longer than — we have a rule: If you hold a pass two seconds, you benefit the defense. So he has a little bit of a tendency to hold it for three, four, five seconds, and then everybody comes to a stop,” Jackson said. “That is one of the things we work with. But he’s adjusted to [the triangle], he knows what he can do, and he’s willing to see its success.”

No doubt that reporters were not going to let this slide as they rushed to ask Anthony what he thought about Phil Jackson’s comments.

I don’t even know what was said, to be honest with you. I just don’t even want to talk about that, what he’s talking about exactly. I want to stay away from that at this point,” Anthony said. “My focus is my teammates and winning. We’ve been playing great basketball, and that’s the only thing I’m focused on. Whatever Phil said, he said it. I have nothing to say about that.”

It seems as if it should have ended there, but the lights of New York shine a little brighter on its stars and things didn’t quite sit well with ‘Melo.  It quickly turned into a “He said He said” ordeal.  Neither side wanted to say that they wanted out.  Carmelo holds all the cards right now with his no trade clause, but has hinted that he might consider a trade for the right circumstances.  This week it became clear that Phil Jackson was ready to say goodbye to his star player as he began to shop for offers around the league.  Some thought Cleveland would be where he landed, but the Cav’s are not willing to give up Kevin Love for Carmelo and he doesn’t really fit their needs.


 Who is to blame for all this unrest?

In my opinion the blame all lands smack dab on the back of superstar Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors.  That’s right Dub-Nation it’s all your fault the league is in turmoil.  The moment that Durant signed with the Warriors during the offseason it became a game changer across the league.  Immediately there wasn’t a team anywhere that was built to beat this powerhouse of a team in a 7-game series.  It created panic in front offices and has wreaked havoc in the locker rooms.  Stars like LeBron, D-Wade, Carmelo are working on the back-end of their careers and standing out West is a team that looks to be the hands on favorite to be in the Championship this year and possibly years to come.  So yeah there has been a lot of whining and complaining in the league here recently, but we are nearing the trade deadline and if anyone wants a chance to run with the Warriors, they better be ready to make a deal.

A lot can happen between now and the trade deadline, but it is certainly getting interesting.  If it’s a bright spot you’re looking for in all this and just want to see what it’s like when a player just loves the game and plays it well.

You might as well give Joel Embiid a follow on twitter @JoelEmbiid.

No doubt he has what it takes to ease all this stress for the NBA fans and he might just give you a good laugh along the way too.  Plus he might have a little advice for some of these veterans that can’t seem to find their happiness.  That advice is “Trust the Process” fellas.  Maybe if they all did that they might remember how lucky they really are.