Report: Several Cleveland Cavaliers challenge Kevin Love over illness-related departure, missed practice
From NBA Twitter and media reports
All is not well in Cleveland. This is not news, especially after the Cavaliers gave up a whopping 148 points in Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma City. They are 4-10 over their last 14 games, tied for the third-worst mark in the league over that span.
The rough stretch has not only dropped Cleveland into a virtual tie for third place in the East, but also created tense questions in the locker room. Some have been dismissed, including the notion that coach Tyronn Lue might be on the hot seat and that lineup changes are afoot.
Kevin Love, however, is reportedly not being so easily forgiven. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the team held an “emotional” meeting before Monday’s practice in which several Cavalier players challenged the legitimacy of the illness that forced Love to leave Saturday’s game early, as well as miss Sunday’s team practice.
Several players were pushing for the Cavaliers’ management and coaching staff to hold Love accountable for leaving the arena before the end of Saturday’s game, and then missing Sunday’s practice, league sources told ESPN.
The meeting was loud and intense, only calming down once Love spoke to those gathered in the room and explained himself, league sources said.
The meeting included Cavaliers coach Ty Lue and general manager Koby Altman, league sources said.
There was a sense that the team was largely accepting of Love’s explanation, and that the airing out of issues could have a positive impact on what has become an increasingly fractured locker room. Within factions of the locker room, there has been blame for the Cavaliers’ struggles directed at everyone from Love to Isaiah Thomas, to Lue and the front office, led by Altman, and owner Dan Gilbert, league sources said.
Love played just over three minutes in the contest, going 0-for-2 from the field while failing to make any other statistical impact. The four-time All-Star told reporters after Monday’s practice that he felt dizzy during the game, but that he was now feeling better and was planning to play against San Antonio on Tuesday.
— Fred McLeod (@CavsFredMcLeod) January 22, 2018
The Cavaliers were counting on Love to step up this season after trading point guard Kyrie Irving to Boston last summer to Boston in exchange for Thomas, Jae Crowder and a first-round pick. Thomas has only recently resumed playing after recovering from a complicated hip injury. Love’s production, however, has seen minimal improvement.
Wojnarowski added that there was some sense of closure after Love defended and explained himself on Monday, but whether long-term peace had been achieved “remains to be seen.”
In a locker room increasingly full of finger-pointing, Love defended himself and explained his side to teammates, coaches and management, sources said. At end of meeting, there was a sense with some that team had worked out some issues, but that ultimately remains to be seen.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 23, 2018