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The Cleveland Cavaliers Trade Deadline, a Drama in Three Acts

The Cavs had all the makings of a great drama: a moody king, a spurned and struggling soldier, and many anonymous sources. Behold this theatrical rendering of the events leading up to and through the deadline.

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Dramatis Personae

King James, the ruler of the Land

Wade, the King’s oldest friend

Gilbert, a wealthy real estate speculator

Love, a veteran soldier who is often blamed for defeats

Windhorst, a well-informed herald

Isaiah, a struggling soldier

Smith, a mirthful soldier

Lue, captain of the armies

Tristan, husband of Khloé

Crowder, a failed soldier

Altman, the young general of the armies

Kyrie, the prince who escaped

The Sources, two anonymous informants

Cavaliers Twitter

Act I, Scene I

The Quicken Loans Arena, after the Cavaliers have fallen to the Thunder, 148-124

Enter King James, Isaiah, Smith, Crowder, and Wade.

King James

Be still and be quiet lest hot words set our

House aflame! Fire can forge a stronger steel

But let us take care! Gentle with each to

Each must we good subjects be! Give your

Shoulders to our burden or the weight of

Defeat heaped upon defeat must be the

End of us. Sage Cleobulus praised moderation.

So should we moderate our passions

And seek not one person on whose neck to

Hang the blame. Mark you that banner of wine

And gold. Together, not yet two years prior,

We, in triumph, raised it. Together we shall

Raise another and another and another.

So speak! Speak! Do not hoard your thoughts like

Treasure. This day I am not your king, I am

Your brother. Speak! Who first?

Isaiah stands and raises his hand.


Friends, teammates, Cavaliers!


Who speaks? What apparition gives voice

Now? I hear words but see nothing!


Aye! What sorcery!


Sweet friends, it is I!


Hark! There it is again! But who speaks these

Words? It is a ghost, I say! Woe! Woe!

The chasm between life and death is bridged!

Flee, friends, flee!


Nay! Nay! It is I, a man, your teammate!



Nay, Smith. Look down there! The subject of our



Ah! I mark him, Tris. Young master, children

Are not allowed about so late at night. Where

Are your parents?


Ha ha. Your wit is well and truly honed

As the edge of a blade.


Come, sir. Stand atop this box so that we may

All the better mark you.

King James

Enough now, Smith. Isaiah, speak.


Good King. Sirs, our struggles, like a shattered

Vessel, contain no secrets.

Simple as rain, plain as a pike.

We do not defend; we blunder and lurch.

But there is worse, friends, much worse.

Kevin Love, dear friends, where is he?

King James

Ill, good sir. He is unwell.


I name him a liar. ’Tis true that

Illness strikes like lightning; one cannot

Tell where or when it might strike. But

Love’s malady was fear of the Thunder; a shookness

Of the mind, not a sickness of the body.

He lies, I say.

Exit King James, Isaiah, Smith, Crowder, Tristan, and Wade.

Act I, Scene II

The Land on a dark and stormy night

Enter Windhorst.


When darkness takes its rightful seat

To mine ears on stocking feet do

Whispers of ill tidings creep.

How cruel a lash is jealousy that drives

Men from the bosom of nurturing sleep

To disgorge the poisoned contents of their hearts?

Grievance, aye; I name thee ink and mine inkpot

Drowns in that bloody, blackened stuff.

Four seasons since the King returned from Southern

Fields to break the curse of half a hundred years,

And raise fair Nike’s banner high above the Q

Yet the mirth and smiles of triumph have all

Given way to endless gloom. But, soft!

Who comes this way to wag a restless tongue?


Enter The Sources.

First Source

Hail, herald of the Land! We bring tales ’neath

These cloaks! Tales, not tails, though ’tis true like cats

We hold our secrets behind a cryptic face.

Second Source

Tales of dissension and woe! Of accusations

And skullduggery most foul!

First Source

Of height shaming.


Wow, height shaming?

First Source

Aye! Did you see the manner by which Love

Handed me the ball? As if I were his son?


Good gentle sirs, please. Mine quill can only scratch

And scribble but so fast and not as quick

As mouths! Tell me, is it true that you did

Label Love a liar, a feigner, a faker?

First Source

Most true!


And, tell me pray, the reason thoust left Love like

A fallen cherub, lying on the court?

Second Source

I do not like him. That is all.

Exit Windhorst and The Sources.

Act II, Scene I

Cavaliers Twitter, Online

Logs on.


Why must Kevin Love always be to blame

When scurrilous charges are levied without names?

When the slings and arrows of ill rumor

Fly, ’tis Love always at who they’re aimed.


The Cavs suck. Wade is washed. Calderon should start

Which is a terrifying thing to say in our current age.

Trade everyone but the King and fire Lue to boot.

Tho calamity might fall like fate’s judgment

’Pon our ears, we must keep the Pick, for the King shall leave

Of that we know and fear.


The defense is a shambles and the King

Is gazing west. To Los Angeles, with weather fair,

Far away from Gilbert’s chilly stare,

Two sirens sing to our fair King. One clothed

In royal purple and precious gold can offer up

Sixteen rings. T’other in red and white and blue has

Billions behind its name to wash its colors

Of the taint of shame. I fear King James will go.


I hope we don’t give up as many points

As the Cavaliers did last night. Ah ha

Ha ha! Ah ha ha ha!

Logs off.

Act II, Scene II

Quicken Loans Arena, Cavaliers defeat the Timberwolves

Enter King James and Isaiah.


A good shot, fair King. But did you

Not see me? I wish to celebrate our glories

As but my embrace was coldly turned aside.

Surely a mistake …

King James

Who speaks? Ah, Isaiah, should I not have guessed

For who else speaks so much? Indeed though art

As full of words as a hen salmon is of

Eggs. A mob of sparrows could not match the

Chatter of your teeth and tongue. Your

Tiny hands did not help to hang the banner

Which proudly flies above. Yet the flapping

Of your tongue outstrips that of said banner

under highland winds. And now you say I did

Not embrace you? In truth I did not see you.

You are as air befouled; your contributions

Are invisible though impossible to ignore.

Enter Wade wearing sunglasses, shorts, and a Hawaiian shirt, carrying luggage.

King James

Ah, Wade. Well met. How goes it?


Excellent! My flight to Miami awaits. I thank

You for your leave.

Exit Wade.


I just want to be where I’m wanted, King James.

I don’t want to be traded. I’m tired of

Being traded. I want to be here. I

Like it here. It hasn’t been as planned.

But I definitely want to be here. We have

A chance to win a championship and I

Want to be a part of it.

King James


Exit King James and Isaiah.

Act III, Scene I

A street in the Land, trade-deadline day

Enter Windhorst.


Hear ye, hear ye, people of the Land.

Events which have no precedent in history

Today have come to pass. The almighty eye

Of god could not foresee the tumult of these days.

Isaiah the unwanted has been

traded to L.A. and Wade and Crowder and

And Rose and Frye are also on their way.

In their stead, come Hill and Hood to

Space the floor anew. And legacy Larry Nance

The Younger comes to dunk on those unlucky few.

The darkness now has lifted. Koby Altman’s

Job today is done. But as we know, the only

Count that matters are the rings when the season’s


Exit Windhorst.

Act III, Scene II

A room in the castle

Enter King James.

King James

Mutinies and discord done, palace treason

Swept away. The villains of the season gone;

A King must have his say. And so I’ve done.

Will I stay? This Land where I was born

Is suffused with my blood and yet, I must

Fly as I have done before if titles

Cannot be mine. This is the excellent

Foppery of the world, that when we are

Sick in fortune, we make guilty of our

Disasters the sun and moon and stars and

Dan Gilbert and Kyrie. Get thee gone,

Whoremaster fate. But will I stay? But will I stay?

Who but god can say.

Exit King James.