The Cavs were two games out of the playoffs when they traded Ramon Sessions to the Los Angeles Lakers. They're now 5 1/2 games out, they've lost four of five since the move and coach Byron Scott conceded after the loss to the Lakers that "we're just not a very good team right now."
But Scott insists the Sessions trade and the losing streak aren't as connected as they appear.
"That has very little to do with it," he said. "Obviously he was very good for us, especially our second unit. He did a lot of great things for us. But I think that's just a little bit of why I felt we haven't played the way we're capable of playing."
It doesn't get any easier. The Cavs have four games in the next five nights and five of their next six games are against teams either headed to the playoffs or on the verge of contention.
Daniel Gibson's ankle injury has left Manny Harris and Donald Sloan to divide the minutes that previously went to Sessions. Neither player obviously can provide what Sessions did, but the chance to add a first-round pick in this summer's draft and improve another first-round pick in 2013 was too good of a price for a backup point guard.
"I just think they should come out and play as hard as they can. That's their job -- to come out and compete every single night," Scott said. "I wouldn't necessarily say that everybody in the room has looked at the trade and said, 'Oh they're planning for the future and we're going to take a little bit of a backslide because of that.' It should be the other way around.
"Other guys should be looking at it as another opportunity to get playing time and to go out there and contribute to the team. I look at it more for the guys in the locker room as a positivie than a negative."