Kevin Love was infamously discontent with the state of affairs in Cleveland this season, but next season could prove to be a very different story for him.
In a feature this week, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com noted that the former All-Star big man has a “phenomenal” relationship with new Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff, who previously coached Love as an assistant for the Minnesta Timberwolves. Fedor states that Bickerstaff will have a better idea of how to keep Love “happy and engaged” and that “enough has changed” since his desire to be traded that Love won’t force a move out of Cleveland.
Love, who is about to turn 32, has two years and $60.2 million left on his deal with the Cavs. He was openly unhappy and confrontational with the team this season, which proved to be yet another losing one for Cleveland.
Some even suggested that Love might have sabotaged coach John Beilein, but the team’s decision to fire Beilein and replace him with Bickerstaff might be enough to keep Love around for the time being.
Kevin Love is one of the last men standing in Cleveland from their 2016 title team, and he wishes their run of success would have lasted longer than it did.
In an interview this week with Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, the Cavaliers big man spoke on the years that he shared with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
“To even have just one more run at it, to see what we were capable of. Just one more run. I would’ve really loved to see that,” said Love. “I think we would’ve been primed for another really big run. Even if it was, for both of them, their last year in Cleveland. It would’ve been nice to see what we were capable of.”
After winning the championship in 2016, the Cavs made their way back to the Finals in 2017 with a record-setting offense. They lost in five games to the Golden State Warriors however, and Irving demanded (and received) a trade that offseason. James and Love then led a depleted Cavs team to yet another Finals berth in 2018, but they fell to the Warriors again, this time in a sweep. James then departed for the Los Angeles Lakers that summer.
Love’s comments are notable because he was often seen as a mismatched third wheel in that Big Three. With Cleveland now in the midst of a second straight sub-20-win season though, the All-Star big can fully appreciate how good the team used to have it back when his co-stars were still around.
John Beilein didn’t work as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it sounds like Kevin Love did him no favors.
Beilein officially resigned during the week after going 14-40 as the Cavs’ head coach, and he was replaced by JB Bickerstaff. Beilein had issues with some of the players, and there were complaints about Beilein running things like a college program.
At first, much of the criticism about Beilein’s tenure was aimed at the coach, but on Thursday, Charles Barkley said the players were to blame. Barkley is not the only one hinting at that.
During Thursday’s edition of the “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast, Windhorst and co-host Tim MacMahon talked about how Love seemed to undermine the hiring.
Windhorst said Love showed up for training camp at effectively the last minute. MacMahon also talked about how Love was against Beilein.
“Kevin Love did everything but rent a billboard saying Beilein sucks,” MacMahon said. “There was zero percent chance of Beilein, and it wasn’t gonna work regardless, but with Kevin Love around that was gonna be a complete disaster. Because he was gonna make it clear how much he thought this coach was over his head, and he was gonna be right.”
Whether Love was against the Beilein hire or not, it was clear this season that Love had issues with the Cavs. Love screamed at the team’s GM in early January and was seen getting upset with another player. Love exhibited poor leadership, which likely contributed to the team’s poor record, and Beilein’s difficulties connecting with the players.
Kevin Love will not face discipline from the Cleveland Cavaliers for his outburst on Saturday, according to a report.
The Athletic’s Kelsey Russo said on Sunday that Love won’t be disciplined.
Kevin Love will not be disciplined by the Cavs for his outburst during Saturday night’s game against OKC, sources told @TheAthleticCLE.
— Kelsey Russo (@kelseyyrusso) January 6, 2020
Love hit back at the report via Instagram Saturday night, seemingly calling it a “non-truth.”
Love also got visibly frustrated with a teammate during Saturday night’s game.
- Kevin Love
Kevin Love was at the center of a report on Saturday that said he had an outburst at the Cleveland Cavaliers’ general manager. Based on his actions later in the day, the report seems true.
Love got visibly frustrated with teammate Collin Sexton before halftime of the Cavaliers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday evening. Sexton was dribbling out the shot clock in the final 20 seconds of the first half and did not pass the ball to Love, who appeared to want the ball to take advantage of a mismatch while being guarded by Chris Paul. After finally getting the ball from Sexton, Love angrily fired a two-handed pass to Cedi Osman.
Kevin Love has absolutely had it with Collin Sexton pic.twitter.com/lib6gql0mx
— Everything Cleveland (@EverythingCLE_) January 5, 2020
Love’s outburst towards GM Koby Altman centered around the veteran reportedly expressing his disgust with the organization. Love previously had an outburst during the team’s game against Toronto in which he complained about how selfish the team was playing. Sexton’s lack of passing on that possession seems to illustrate Love’s issue.
As trade rumors surrounding Love swirl, it seems pretty clear that he wants out — and we think we know where.
Kevin Love’s frustration with the Cleveland Cavaliers has come to a head.
Joe Vardon and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Saturday that the five-time All-Star had an “emotional verbal outburst” directed at Cavs general manager Koby Altman during shootaround expressing his disgust with the organization. Love is said to have been screaming in front of teammates, coaches, and other front office members that there was “no feel here.”
The 31-year-old also was fined $1,000 by the team for a separate outburst on Dec. 31 during a loss to the Toronto Raptors, a punishment that he disagreed with. Love was caught on camera slapping chairs on the bench away from the team huddle and said he was upset with how selfish the first unit was playing.
Altman and Love are said to have had a verbal altercation towards the end of last year as well. Love allegedly raised his voice at the GM, and when Altman threatened to fine him, Love replied, “Go ahead. I have plenty of money.”
The Cavs are currently 12th in the East at 10-24 on the season. Love, who is in his sixth year with the team and is averaging 16.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, is under contract with the Cavs through 2022-23.
Recent reports suggested that Love wanted to be traded, and now it is fair to wonder whether his relationship with the team is still salvageable.
Kevin Love could only crack a joke and tip his cap after being humiliated by Ja Morant on Friday night.
Morant nearly went Vince Carter on Love with a huge dunk attempt in Friday night’s Memphis Grizzlies-Cleveland Cavaliers game. Morant raised up and just about jumped over Love’s entire body while going for the dunk. He did miss it though.
Ja almost ended my professional career with this dunk…that kid is something special https://t.co/5SxCItAMba
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) December 21, 2019
#Cavs PF Kevin Love on almost being being posterized by #Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant: “I really didn’t think he could take off from there. He legit jumped over me. Boy, I was so glad he missed that dunk. … He’s really special.”
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) December 21, 2019
Few could even care that Morant missed the dunk. What mattered is the aggression and athleticism he showed on the play, and the simple willingness to challenge himself in that manner.
The Cavs won 114-107, while Morant had 8 points and 11 assists. Though his team lost, many would argue that Morant was the big winner — at least on social media.