Since Lebron James returned to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, each of their seasons has followed a similar pattern. A hot start makes them look unbeatable, while a mid-winter slump makes it seem like the team is lost. All of it becoming a distant memory as the playoffs approach and the team dials it up and plays to its superstar potential.

This season, however, things just feel different. It is easy to say as we are mired in the team's usual mid-winter slump, but something else seems off. Head coach Tyronn Lue gave a peek behind the curtains when he offered this quip when recently talking about the team's struggles.

"We've got to be better.

We know that. But until we play better defensively, I think offensively sharing the basketball, everyone on the same page, and if guys have agendas, we've got to get rid of our agendas and play the right way." It's unclear if Lue was trying to get a message across to his team through the media. Regardless, it is a heavy accusation if he is saying that some of his players are putting themselves before the team.

The players don't disagree

Anytime a coach calls out their players; it is interesting to see the reaction. Some players take the criticism [VIDEO]to heart and work harder than ever to the correct the team's wrongs. Some players go into the tank as they feel they've lost the confidence of their coach. Recent grumblings within the locker room show a team that could really go either way at this point.

Some players have been quietly complaining that Lebron is one of the main sources of the problem. He is being accused of holding the ball too long and looking for passes that will lead to assists, and boost his stats, rather than passing to the right guy to help the flow of the offense.

If James is indeed playing for himself and the accolades, you can see where teammates would be unhappy. It is one thing to go for the glory on a front-running team, but when you are seven games back of Boston in the standings, now is not the time.

Lue deserves criticism too

Players have also been grumbling about the lineups that Lue is putting on the floor night in and night out. Some would like to see Tristan Thompson starting, and more minutes going to Channing Frye. The veterans do deserve more playing time, but who do you sit down and what the rotations should look like is a difficult thing to balance.

Trading Kyrie Irving opened up a spot that was filled with the incoming Isaiah Thomas [VIDEO]. That switch on paper was simple, but another starter in Jae Crowder also was in that deal. He has continued to play at a starting level and has earned his spot in the rotation. The other additions of Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and bringing back Kyle Korver is where juggling the lineup gets tricky.

Lue has done the best he can with the personnel he has, but a trade seems likely if the team wants to polish themselves into a title contender again come spring. #Tyronn Lue #Cleveland Cavaliers #LeBron James