WASHINGTON -- LeBron James, as much as any member of the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers, has been vocal about the process it will take to transform his team into a championship contender. But with the Cavs off to a 5-5 start, even James admits it's not easy staying focused on the long view.
"It's my biggest test," James said Friday morning in advance of the Cavs' game against the Washington Wizards (ESPN, 8 p.m.). "My patience isn't [endless]. I have a low tolerance for things of this nature. So it's something I'm working on, as well, which I knew from the beginning that that was going to be my biggest test to see how much patience I got with the process.
"What helps me out is I've been through it before, but at the same time, I'm a winner, I want to win, and I want to win now. It's not tomorrow, it's not down the line, I want to win now. So it's a fine line for me, but I understand what we're enduring right now."
The Miami Heat infamously started off 9-8 in 2010-11, James' first season with the team. This was after James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh predicted they would win multiple championships during a pep rally before they even played a game together, and with the heightened expectations that came from analysts such as ESPN/ABC's Jeff Van Gundy declaring they had a shot to best the Chicago Bulls' single-season record of 72-10.
After Cleveland lost to the San Antonio Spurs 92-90 on Wednesday, James said he had a "sense of comfort" to have already been through a rocky start with a new team four years ago back in Miami.
These Cavs are facing the same sort of outside pressure that James' first Heat team did. James reminded reporters that just because Cleveland has all the ingredients it needs, doesn't mean that it won't take time to make the meal.
"We put a lot of pieces together that wasn't here last year," James said. "I don't want to say 'rebuilding.' I think [when] people think of rebuilding, they think of starting from the ground up. But we are a team that wasn't together last year, so [we have] the same struggles as the [Philadelphia] 76ers or as the Miami Heat right now and us, we have some of the same qualities as far as putting new guys together.
"Obviously the talent is a little bit different on every team, but [the Cavs are] coming together and going through a new system -- we have a new coach, we have a new staff, we have new players. The problem with everyone is everyone wants overnight success and no one wants to work for it. So, you put in the hard work, you get the satisfaction of it later."
James was asked specifically about how satisfied he is with how his relationship with first-year head coach David Blatt is going.
"It takes a long time," James said. "I don't know the exact time, but it takes awhile. You have to go through things on the floor and be with him, and you got to go through a lot of tough times and see how guys react from it and see how you come back from it. But, it doesn't happen overnight."
Earlier in the week, James endorsed Blatt, saying, "He's an intense guy, a very intense guy who wants to win, who wants to do it the right way. He doesn't want to mess around too much with the process, and you can respect that. He gets on us when we do something wrong, and he gives us a pat on the back when we do something right. And it's been more getting on us than pats on the back so far, but it's a good thing. It's good for our team."
James was also asked about Kevin Love's recent comments expressing frustration with his inconsistent role in the offense.
"I think it's a feel-out process for all of us," James said. "And it's a little more challenging for him than it is for me and Kyrie [Irving] because we get to handle the ball a bit more. Him being a big guy, we have to give him the ball. When he has his opportunities, he has to make the most out of them."
He said that as long as Love is assertive, his teammates will acquiesce.
"Kev is a guy, if he wants the ball in the post, he gets the ball in the post," James said. "He'll demand it, and we'll give it to him. For me, I definitely don't have a problem with it. It's a great equalizer to try to slow the game down and have a guy that can create opportunities in the post."
With everything the Cavs are trying to work on -- sharing the ball on offense, improving on defense, developing interpersonal relationships between the players and the coaching staff -- with little to show for their efforts other than a .500 record so far, is James' patience wearing thin?
"No," James said. "It's not starting to wear. It's only been 10 games. Not yet."