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#pounditSunday, October 17, 2021

Report: LeBron James was worried Kevin Love didn’t prioritize winning

LeBron James Kevin Love

The fact that Kevin Love re-signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason proves that his relationship with LeBron James is hardly beyond repair. That said, it’s obvious the two superstars are not best friends.

A recent feature from Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report shed some more light on the early tension that existed between LeBron and Love. Apparently James was concerned that Love wasn’t making winning his top priority.

It’s safe to say that the soap opera isn’t on permanent hiatus, even after Love — following a poolside pow-wow with James — re-signed for five years, a decision that suggests he’s not especially queasy about their ongoing collaboration. It also should alleviate James’ concerns, which he expressed to many confidants, especially early in the season, that Love wasn’t ready to put winning first.

For a while, it was starting to look like Love might abandon his Cleveland experiment and return to another situation in which he could be “the guy.” He averaged just 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game last season, which were his lowest totals in both categories since 2010.

Love knew there would be less touches for him in Cleveland’s offense, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the adjustment was easy. Not everyone can adapt to that situation as well as Kevin Garnett did when the Boston Celtics won an NBA championship in 2008.

Love could have signed a two-year deal with a player option for the second, similar to what LeBron did. That would have allowed him to secure more money next summer when the salary cap increases, and it also would have left the door open for an exit.

But he chose to commit for the long term.

What does that tell us? For starters, Love wants to win a championship. The Cavs reached the NBA Finals after he was injured early in the postseason, so he has to believe they’d be even better with him healthy. Perhaps more importantly, Love’s relationship with LeBron has progressed past the point where one guy is subtweeting about the other. The latter could prove to be incredibly important for the 2015-2016 Cavaliers.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

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