LeBron talks about the Cavs missing two key players »

Oct 24, 2007 at 2:35 am | around-the-nbalebron-james

The ceremonies and goodwill tours are over. The Cavaliers returned from their eight-day trip to China over the weekend and had their first practice Monday. Afterward, LeBron James gave his most in-depth interview in weeks about the state of the team as only eight days remain before the beginning of the season. While the absence of Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic with contract issues has perhaps become a tired subject, there is no doubt it still weighs heavily on the minds of James and the rest of the Cavs after what has been a mostly lackluster preseason. The Cavs have gone 1-4 thus far. Check out the interview with LeBron James below. Source: Ohio.com.

Q: In your opinion, where is the team right now?
A: We still have a long way to go. We have things to (iron) out. We don’t know for sure what is going to happen with two of our guys. Right now we have to prepare with the guys we have and continue to get better. We don’t know until our guys start playing the minutes we’re used to playing. I think right now I’m averaging 26 minutes in the preseason, and we’ll probably increase that over the next two games to get ready for the showdown (with the Dallas Mavericks) on the 31st. I can’t give you an assessment of where we are. We don’t really know.
Q: In your head, do you have to move past having (Pavlovic and Varejao) at this point?
A: You have to continue to get better, but there is no way you can move past it. Their names are in the locker room still, they are still a part of this team, so you can’t move past that. At the same time, you have to go with what you have on the court until they get here.
Q: When do you start getting worried about this?
A: It’s getting close. The first game is next Wednesday.
Q: How do you balance in the short term of getting them signed versus the long-term value of keeping flexibility like the franchise is saying?
A: That’s not my job to worry about. For me as a leader, you want guys around you that are going to help you win ballgames. I’m going to do what is best for the team. But at the same time you see teams regrouping and reshaping, and with our team we didn’t do any reshaping, we didn’t do any regrouping. You start to think a bit, ‘How are we going to continue to get better?’ Something is going to have to happen within the next week so we know for certain whether we have them or not.
Q: How much better or worse are you guys without them?
A: Oh, we’re worse. We’re not as good as we were if we have those guys. It’s simple. We all know that. Those two guys are a big part of our team. There’s no reason to sit here and say we’re better without them. I think they’re a key point to our team. At the same time, we have to continue to get better while they are not here. Hopefully something happens.
Q: Are you prepared to enter the season with the team the way it is?
A: Absolutely. For me, I have to make sure our team knows if those guys are not going to be here we have to get better. I am geared for them not being here. As an individual I know I am ready. I know if I am ready, our team will be ready.
Q: Does it require more from you?
A: I’m going to give it my all. I’m going to give what needs to be done for us to win ballgames. I’m not going to pick up the charges that Andy took, I’m not going to hit the open 3s that Sasha made. That’s not who I am. I am going to continue to lead my team and help us win ballgames. That is regardless of who is here or who is injured. That is what I do best.
Q: Overall, how was the experience in China?
A: I’ve been there before. It wasn’t new to me. It is a great experience. The fans over there are unbelievable. I think our team learned a lot from being over there. That was my fourth trip. I’ve been there almost every summer since 2003. Dribbles