After a loss to the shorthanded Spurs and amid trade rumors, Ty Lue said lineup changes are coming.
After a disappointing 114-102 loss to the shorthanded Spurs and amid rumors that the team is working on a deal for Kings guard George Hill, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue had a cryptic message when asked whether he's going to stick with the same starting lineup.
"I'm going to make a change," Lue said. But he would not specify what the change would be, and whether the change might include bringing in a player who is not currently on the roster.
Since Isaiah Thomas' return from injury, Cleveland has gone with a starting lineup of Thomas, J.R. Smith, Jae Crowder, Kevin Love and LeBron James, who became the seventh player to score 30,000 career points in the loss to San Antonio on Tuesday night.
Ty Lue on his lineups after another loss: “I’m going to make a change.” He would not reveal what.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 24, 2018
Cleveland has lost 10 of 13 to drop 27-19. That's still good enough for third in the East, but the Cavs trail the second-place Raptors by 4.5 games and sit six games behind the Celtics.
The main issue has been on the defensive end of the floor–the Cavs are 29th in defensive rating (109.9) and 26th in scoring defense (109.5).
There is a growing consensus that Cleveland needs to make a deal before the Feb. 8 trade deadline. The Cavs have been rumored to be interested in a number of big-name targets including DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan, but the trade that seems most likely—at least for right now—is a deal for Hill, which could include Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye as well as a second-round pick, per ESPN.
This recent slide has prompted some to question Lue's job security. After Cleveland gave up a season-high 148 points—the most a team with James has ever conceded—to the Thunder on Saturday, James was asked whether he thinks the struggles could cost Lue his job.
"I would hope not, but I really don't know," James said when asked if Lue could be fired. "I don't know what's going to happen with our team. I have no idea what conversations have been going on. Me personally, I've been trying to stay as laser-sharp as I can to keep my guys ready to go out and play."
The team held a fiery meeting to air grievances before the team's practice on Monday. In the meeting, Kevin Love and other members of the team were called out, reports ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.