Amid a stretch of horrendous losses, the Cleveland Cavaliers reached a new low last Monday after a heated team meeting.

During the meeting,  much of the frustration was directed toward forward Kevin Love. Players questioned the severity of his “undisclosed illness,” which caused him to leave the Quicken Loans Arena early in the team’s 148-124 blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday and miss practice over the weekend.

Yet, Love’s brief absence fails to explain the overall poor performance of a team that, this season, lacks cohesion, defensive intensity and a consistent offensive facilitator when forward LeBron James is on the bench. Cleveland has lost six out of its last seven games this season.

The Cavs are no strangers to midseason doldrums. In the winter of 2015, the Cavs went on a 2-10 stretch; in addition,  they went 7-8 in January 2017. However, they were accustomed to experiencing these slumps while in first or second place in the Eastern Conference. Additionally, they were able to maintain a steadfast belief that they were the best team in the conference, regardless of record.

This season, the Cavs lack this sense of security that helped them navigate their previous struggles. Quite frankly, most teams could eliminate the Cavs in a playoff series right now. This year, the Boston Celtics, with the offseason addition of point guard Kyrie Irving from the Cavaliers in August, appear to be a formidable foe who could eliminate the Cavs in the playoffs.

Irving’s absence is the cause of the issues plaguing the Cavaliers, given that he was an integral part of their 2016 championship team. If Irving still played for the Cavs, they would be in first place now. The combination of forward Jae Crowder and guard Isaiah Thomas has fallen tremendously short of the impact Irving has produced in Boston. As a result, the Cavs essentially strengthened their greatest threat in the Eastern Conference while worsening their own prospects.

Furthermore, the Irving trade marked a substantial overhaul of the Cavaliers’ roster during the offseason. Currently, only seven members remain from their roster in the 2017 finals. The new Cavaliers lack the experience to pilot the team through their midseason struggles in recent years, inviting doubt about whether they can get over the hump.

Additionally, the Cavs have not yet found a way to successfully integrate all of their new players. Most notably, the Cavs’ struggles have largely coincided with the return of Thomas. Thomas has struggled to find his rhythm offensively and has maintained his reputation as one of the worst defenders in the NBA, unable to match the length and physicality of opposing guards.

To be fair, Thomas is still regaining his form after spending the first 2 1/2 months of the season recovering from offseason hip surgery. The Cavs hope Thomas can reestablish himself as a potent scorer and facilitator, but Cleveland cannot afford to hope and wait. This strategy is unacceptable for a franchise whose relevance is tied to the presence of James, who might choose to take his talents elsewhere after the season.

At the very least, the Cavs should acquire point guard George Hill from the Sacramento Kings as a more stable force at point guard while Thomas improves. Hill would represent a significantly better defensive option who could even play alongside Thomas. This trade would provide a solid upgrade and cost a relatively modest price, which would likely come as a package deal featuring guard Iman Shumpert.

However, if the Cavaliers truly want to have a fighter’s chance at a title this season, they could elect to surrender some combination of Tristian Thompson, Kevin Love and the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick in exchange for forward DeMarcus Cousins.

The acquisition of Cousins would provide the Cavs with a second game-changing offensive talent, which they have lacked since losing Irving. This scenario would be incredibly risky, as Cousins is a free agent after this season and the Cavs could be without both Cousins and James in the 2018-19 season.

The Cavaliers’ struggles stem from their inability to truly overcome the absence of Irving. The situation is desperate and the Cavs need to make a move to turn things around. The question is whether they are willing to potentially gamble with their future to acquire Cousins. Sometimes, a front office must act boldly to try to win a championship.

Jeffrey Swanson is a junior in the McDonough School of Business. This is the first installment of UNDER REVIEW.

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