LeBron James: Cavs can’t rely on Isaiah Thomas’ return to solve issues
LeBron James is eager to get on the court with Isaiah Thomas to see what his new teammate can bring to the team. However, James stressed the team cannot expect the point guard’s return to solve all the team’s issues.
Thomas is making great strides in rehab of his hip injury. So much so that reports suggest Thomas could return sooner than early January, although the Cavaliers have been reticent to announce any deviation from the original timetable.
The Cavaliers were aware that Thomas would not be available immediately after acquiring him during the offseason. That said, the Cavs certainly did not expect to stumble out of the gate to a 5-6 record, either. And simply waiting out Thomas’ return, whenever that may be, isn’t the correct course of action, James insists.
“To be honest, I don’t think it’s too much expected,” James said ahead of Thursday morning’s shootaround, via ESPN. “I don’t think we’re relying on IT to come back. We want him to take his time. When he feels he’s ready, he’s going to fit right in. We can’t rely on just one person. We can’t rely on just one person for us to be as good as we want to be, whether it’s IT or myself or Tristan [Thompson] being out. We have guys who have to step up.”
James also pointed out the Cavaliers shouldn’t burden Thomas with the role of expected savior.
“IT is definitely a big piece of what we want to do, but IT hasn’t stepped out on the floor in a Cavs uniform yet,” James said. “We know what he’s capable of doing, but he hasn’t played with us, so we don’t want to put that type of pressure on him, even though he loves it.”
James, outside of a recent cryptic social media musings– one used brilliantly by the Houston Rockets ahead of Thursday’s match-up — has mostly been preaching positivity and patience amid the Cavaliers’ rough start. With Thomas’ return still a long way off, the onus is on the players currently in the lineup to change the team’s fortunes.