LeBron James and the Cavaliers aren't on the same page of their 'agendas'

LeBron James put his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates on notice both during an in-game timeout tirade and in the locker room after a second straight blowout loss, for good reason, but it may also be fair to start wondering who in Cleveland will put LeBron on notice. Or if Cavs coach Tyronn Lue just did.

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“If guys have agendas,” Lue told reporters after a 133-99 loss to the Toronto Raptors, “we’ve got to get rid of our agendas and play the right way.”

Lue didn’t reference anybody specifically, but that didn’t stop reporters from asking around. Cavaliers guards Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade didn’t name any names, but they did sort of agree with Lue.

“We’re not playing for each other right now, offensively and defensively,” said Thomas. “Defensively, everybody’s on an island playing defense by themselves. Offensively, it’s a lot of one-on-one, no ball movement.”

“We’ve got to all play for each other a little more,” added Wade. “And we have to get out of our individual whatever we’re going through.”

Kevin Love and LeBron, however, weren’t on the same page as their coach and teammates

But … this nugget from Cleveland.com beat reporter Joe Vardon seems noteworthy:

Over the last 10 games, the Cavs are allowing 116.8 points per 100 possessions with LeBron on the floor and are giving up a less-preposterous-but-still-very-bad 108.1 points per 100 with him on the bench. On the season, Cleveland’s defense is 7.8 points per 100 possessions better without James, and the Cavs haven’t statistically been better defensively without LeBron since he returned. And, yes, all of this may be the result of the massive offensive burden the 33-year-old point forward is carrying.

It seems ridiculous to question the effort of a player who has won three titles and accomplished as much as LeBron has, but when he’s calling out his teammates’ effort, his coach is vaguely referencing hidden “agendas,” and the locker room seems torn on what exactly everybody is talking about, it’s OK to examine how an MVP candidate is contributing to his team’s stumble in the standings.

The Cavs have dropped seven of their last 10 games, including losses to the East rival Raptors and Boston Celtics. During that stretch, LeBron has averaged 25 points (on 51.9 percent shooting), 7.1 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 combined blocks and steals — incredible numbers, even if they’re down from his season averages. His usage rate is up a tick, while his assist percentage (of teammates’ field goals he creates) and ratio (percentage of his possessions ending in assists) are both down.

29 PHOTOS
LeBron James through the years
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LeBron James through the years
File photo of high school basketball star LeBron James getting set for a foul shot during the annual Jordan Capital Classic high school all-star game in Washington, April 17, 2003. James will hold a press conference at his high shool in Akron, Ohio April 25, 2003, where he is expected to state his intentions concerning the upcoming NBA draft. James is expected to be the number one pick should he make himself available for the draft. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn-Files GMH/HB
Lebron James announces his entrance into the NBA draft, during a press conference at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, April 25, 2003. The six-foot-eight James, 18, is expected by many to be the number one selection in the draft on June 26. REUTERS/Jason Cohn JC/HB
LeBron James (R) shakes hands with National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first pick in the 2003 NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York, June 26, 2003. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton PM
Cleveland Cavaliers first draft pick LeBron James speaks with reporters following a picture session at Gund Arena, in Cleveland, October 2, 2003. REUTERS/Ron Kuntz RK/ME
Cleveland Cavalier rookie forward LeBron James (23) shoots over New Orleans Hornets defenders Baron Davis (1) and David Wesley (4), in the fourth period of NBA action in Cleveland, Ohio, December 23, 2003. James 22 points was the high scorer for the Cavaliers who defeated the Hornets 97-86. REUTERS/Marc Serota MS
Paul Pierce (R) of the Boston Celtics and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers chat while the scoreboard is fixed during the fourth quarter of their game at Gund Arena, February 9, 2004. The Cavaliers won, 97-89. REUTERS/Ron Kuntz RK
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (C) gets a layup as Seattle Supersonics forward Rashad Lewis (L) and Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki look on, during the first half of the 54th NBA All-Star Game in Denver, February 20, 2005. REUTERS/John Gress JM
Eastern Conference forward LeBron James holds the Most Valuable Player trophy at the 55th NBA All-Star Game in Houston, Texas February 19, 2006. The East defeated the Western Conference 122-120. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James questions a call during their NBA playoff game against the Washington Wizards in Washington May 5, 2006 Cleveland defeated Washington, 114-113, to advance in the NBA playoffs. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
Forward LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, works on his jump shot at morning practice during the first day of training camp for the USA men's basketball team in Las Vegas July 19, 2006. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots over New York Knicks forward Quentin Richardson (L) and guard Stephon Marbury (R) in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game in New York's Madison Square Garden, November 13, 2006. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James is seen on the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles, California, February 15, 2007. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James goes through his pregame powder ritual prior to the start of Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first round NBA playoff basketball game in Cleveland, Ohio April 25, 2007. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James answers media questions before practice for their NBA Finals basketball series against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Texas, June 8, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James (L) celebrates after dunking against the New Orleans Hornets David West during the NBA All-Star basketball game in New Orleans, Louisiana February 17, 2008. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James (L) is guarded by Chicago Bulls Thabo Sefolosha (R) during the first quarter of their NBA basketball game in Cleveland, April 3, 2008. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James drives to the basket during the third quarter of their NBA basketball game in Cleveland January 9, 2009. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers Lebron James sits with his girlfriend Savana Brinson and son Bryce Maximus during the Rookie Challenge at the NBA All-Star basketball weekend in Phoenix, Arizona, February 13, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James speaks after being named the NBA Most Valuable Player during a ceremony at his alma mater St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio May 4, 2009. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James celebrates after Mario Chalmers scored a three pointer against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, December 25, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (R) stands with Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade during Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball series in Dallas, June 9, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James watches a shot against the Dallas Mavericks through the net during the second half in Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball series in Miami, June 2, 2011. REUTERS/David J. Phillip/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James dunks against the Washington Wizards in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Miami, Florida December 15, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James speaks at a press conference after his team defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in Miami, Florida June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dec 19, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) makes a pass against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James wears an " I Can't Breathe" t-shirt during warm ups prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn, New York, December 8, 2014. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
June 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James speaks to media following the 104-91 loss against the Golden State Warriors in game five of the NBA Finals. at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after beating the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 21: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers pauses on the court during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Quicken Loans Arena on January 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Spurs defeated the Cavaliers 118-115. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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None of this really suggests the ball is sticking in LeBron’s hands any more than it always has.

We could point to his one assist on Thursday — his only such game since rejoining the Cavs in 2014 and one of just 10 games in his entire career in which he’s finished with one or fewer assists. But that’s one game during a season he’s averaging a career-high 8.8 dimes per contest. It’s an anomaly.

The percentage of possessions that LeBron operates in isolation has risen from 19.1 percent in 2015-16 and 20.3 percent last season to 24.7 percent this year, so he’s working alone on almost a quarter of his plays. That is notable. The number of passes he’s thrown per game has also declined from 59.4 last season to 57.7 this year (to 54.1 over his last 10 games and 49 in the past three). And the percentage of his field goals that are unassisted has risen from 59.7 percent in 2015-16 to 62.2 percent last season and 69.4 percent this year (69.2 percent in his last 10 games and 72 percent in his last three).

Look back at one of the Cavs' recent tough losses: 

11 PHOTOS
Cavaliers lose to Toronto Raptors 133-99 on Jan. 11
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Cavaliers lose to Toronto Raptors 133-99 on Jan. 11
Jan 11, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after being hit in the third quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 11, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) controls a ball as Cleveland Cavaliers forward Jae Crowder (99) defends during the third quarter at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 11, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Norman Powell (24) drives to the basket over Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) in the fourth quarter at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 11: Dwayne Wade #9 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles the ball as Norman Powell #24 of the Toronto Raptors defends during the first half of an NBA game at Air Canada Centre on January 11, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 11: Lebron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors wait for a free throw during the second half of an NBA game at Air Canada Centre on January 11, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 11: Isaiah Thomas #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles the ball during to the first half of an NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre on January 11, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 11: Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) looks to pass as Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) and Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith (5) double team him. Toronto Raptors vs Cleveland Cavaliers in 2nd half action of NBA regular season play at Air Canada Centre. Raptors win 133-99, Toronto Star/Rick Madonik (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 11: Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dwyane Wade (9) keeps the ball well away from the grasp of Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23). Toronto Raptors vs Cleveland Cavaliers in 2nd half action of NBA regular season play at Air Canada Centre. Raptors win 133-99, Toronto Star/Rick Madonik (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 11: Lebron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers speaks to OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors during the second half of an NBA game at Air Canada Centre on January 11, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 11: Isaiah Thomas #3, Dwayne Wade #9 and Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers look on from the bench during the second half of an NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre on January 11, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Jan 11, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts in the first quarter during a game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
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These would all lend credence to the idea that James isn’t entrusting his teammates as much, even if many of these statistics are small sample sizes. The tape shows some evidence to back this up as well:

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But, again, nothing definitive. Also, remember this is one of the game’s most unselfish superstars, and there might be a reason the ball is sticking a little more often. He had been playing with Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon as his starting point guards, and he’s now trying to familiarize himself with Isaiah Thomas, who is 5-for-26 in his last two games and clearly rusty from rehabbing for seven months.

The ball tends to stick when you have an inordinate amount of pressure to lead a team that’s been to three straight NBA Finals back to the mountaintop, and you’re now trying to do it without Kyrie Irving.

23 PHOTOS
Kyrie Irving and LeBron James' relationship through the years
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Kyrie Irving and LeBron James' relationship through the years
Miami Heat forward LeBron James (L) tries to get past Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving in the first quarter of their NBA basketball game in Miami, Florida, February 7, 2012. REUTERS/Joe Skipper (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, left, and Miami Heat forward LeBron James stand near one another during the fourth quarter at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, Sunday, February 24, 2013. The Heat defeated the Cavaliers 109-105. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
INDEPENDENCE, OH - SEPTEMBER 26: Kevin Love #0, Kyrie Irving #2 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers poses for a photo during media day on September 26, 2014 at the Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dec 2, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (right) and guard Kyrie Irving (2) react in the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
January 16, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and guard Kyrie Irving (2) react during the 126-121 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers in the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK, NY - December 4: Tristan Thompson #13, LeBron James #23 and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the national anthem before the game against the New York Knicks on December 4, 2014 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 26: Kyrie Irving #2 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate during the first half against the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena on February 26, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers hugs Kyrie Irving #2 after a win against the Chicago Bulls in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 10, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cavaliers defeated the Bulls 86-84. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agress that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 28: Kevin Love #0 Kyrie Irving #2 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the Cleveland Cavaliers media day at Cleveland Clinic Courts on September 28, 2015 in Independence, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 2: Kyrie Irving #2 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers talk on the court during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on January 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 1: LeBron James #23 and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate after the game against the Indiana Pacers on February 1, 2016 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 17: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers speak at a post game press conference after the game against the Toronto Raptors in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on May 17, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 27: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate after a victory in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Toronto Raptors during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on May 27, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 01: LeBron James #23 and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers laugh during a conversation at practice for the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 1, 2016 in Oakland, California. The Warriors will take on the Cavaliers on June 2, 2016. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 13: Kyrie Irving #2 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react during the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 13, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate after winning Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13: NBA players LeBron James (L) and Kyrie Irving attend the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 15: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates a second half dunk with Kyrie Irving #2 while playing the Indiana Pacers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on April 15, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won the game 109-108 to take a 1-0 series lead. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 04: Kyrie Irving #2 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers laugh during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on March 4, 2017 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: Kyrie Irving #2 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers high five against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 17: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes to greet Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics prior to playing at at Quicken Loans Arena on October 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 17: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics shake hands after a Cavaliers 102-99 victory at Quicken Loans Arena on October 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 17: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics embrace after a Cavaliers 102-99 victory at Quicken Loans Arena on October 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Maybe this is all a result of a revamped roster adjusting to each other. (Vardon also had a note in his piece about Thomas complaining of a lack of practice time and players groaning about Lue’s lineups.) Maybe it’s just the way of life for a Cleveland team that’s been known to flip the switch in the playoffs. Or maybe LeBron is trying to prove a point — sort of like he did when he stood in the corners and let Irving chuck to prove a point about the need to play for each other, only the exact opposite.

Or maybe, just maybe, this is LeBron sending a message to the organization that he needs help. He is, of course, a free agent at the end of the season, and it’s hard to imagine this roster — the way they’re currently playing — having any chance of reaching the Finals, let alone making it out of the East. The Cavaliers have a month until the trade deadline to bolster the case for James to stay in Cleveland.

The uncertainty of James’ return has to leave fellow soon-to-be free agents Thomas, Wade, Rose, Calderon, Channing Frye and Jeff Green wondering about their futures as well. So, the task for Lue now is getting this group to put all those agendas aside for one goal of getting LeBron back to the Finals.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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