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#pounditWednesday, February 28, 2024

LeBron James was frustrated Kevin Love showed up out of shape last season

LeBron James Kevin Love

LeBron James and Kevin Love did not have the best relationship last season, that much is clear.

James made acquiring Love a high priority for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He admired the former Timberwolves star’s skillset, but when they became teammates, there was a lot of tension between them. LeBron even acted unlike himself by taking a passive-aggressive shot at Love over social media last year.

So if James wanted Love to be one of the pieces of the Cavaliers’ championship pie, why did he treat the former All-Star so poorly? Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal wrote an in-depth article on the relationship between the two stars, and he says James was frustrated that Love showed up out of shape last season.

From Lloyd’s article:

In truth, James was frustrated in part because Love showed up out of shape. He didn’t work out much at all the summer he was traded here and he wasn’t the player James was expecting. His legs bothered him all season. His back was hurting. All of the parts were connected and none of them were firing properly.

James loves talent and he loves playing with elite talent. Love’s physical condition prevented him from being the player James thought he was getting. As a result, James gravitated toward Kyrie Irving and Love never fit well into this system.

It seems like much more than that went wrong between Love and James, but that could be the impetus for the problems. A report over the summer suggested that James felt Love didn’t prioritize winning, which could be manifested by not working to stay in shape over the offseason. Another report said James was upset Love was not fitting in with his teammates, which is something Love seemed to confirm.

Oh, and Love didn’t exactly do himself any favors when he picked his ex-UCLA teammate Russell Westbrook for MVP last year instead of James. That actually seemed to bother LeBron as we later found out.

Whatever the reason for the friction between James and Love — and it seems like we’ve come across many suggestions that make a lot of sense — the important thing is for them to work things out this year. James is making a concerted effort to make Love the central focus in the team’s offense this year. It all seems to be a plan to build up Love’s confidence so he can be a key player for the Cavs when it all matters — playoff time.


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