Kevin Love has been visibly upset.
The five-time All-Star has watched his tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers descend from championship heights to him being the only All-Star-level talent on a perpetually rebuilding roster.
On Tuesday he accounted for outbursts in recent weeks — public and private — but downplayed a report that he had a Jimmy Butler-esque screaming match with teammates and management behind closed doors.
‘I’m an a--hole, but ... ’
“There was no altercation,” Love told reporters, per the Akron Beacon-Journal. “There was no screaming match. It was a conversation we had, but ... there was no blowup, there was no me talking about how much money I have.
“I’m an a--hole. But I’m not that big of an a--hole.”
The Athletic reported last week that Love unleashed on general manager Koby Altman and his teammates after he was fined $1,000 for a Dec. 31 tantrum during a game against the Toronto Raptors that saw him slapping chairs as he went to the bench.
From that report:
Kevin Love had an emotional verbal outburst directed toward general manager Koby Altman following shootaround on Saturday, expressing his displeasure and disgust with the organization, league sources told The Athletic.
Love was screaming in front of teammates and Cavs coaches and front-office members that there was “no feel here,” league sources said.
Love says he, Altman are cool
Love told reporters on Tuesday that he was upset about how the fine was delivered and had words with Altman about it, but that his reaction was “about a two” on a scale of 1-to-10. He also said that he and Altman are on good terms.
Love’s anger has spilled onto court
While there’s conflict about what happened behind the scenes, there’s no denying that Love has been publicly upset during recent games.
The incident against the Raptors that reportedly drew the $1,000 fine is preserved on Instagram.
Frustration with Collin Sexton
An ensuing display during a Jan. 4 game against the Oklahoma City Thunder happened on the court.
Love found himself with a mismatch in the paint against point guard Chris Paul. He watched from the post as second-year guard Collin Sexton dribbled on the perimeter and cleared out before he lost his patience.
He approached Sexton with his hands up and demanded the ball. When Sexton passed it to him, Love immediately chucked to Cedi Osman, resulting in a contested, missed 3-point attempt up against the shot clock.
Kevin Love has absolutely had it with Collin Sexton 😳 pic.twitter.com/lib6gql0mx
— Everything Cleveland (@EverythingCLE_) January 5, 2020
The Athletic report dropped shortly before the Thunder game and appeared to fuel his emotions.
“The play call right before the half ... I threw my hands up, and while that was childish, I let my emotions get the best of me,” Love said.
Love also acknowledged his actions during the Raptors game.
“I wasn’t acting like a 31-year-old,” Love said. “I was acting like a 13-year-old.”
What’s next for Love?
Love is better suited for a roster built to win now than one that’s rebuilding. He’s widely expected to be dealt before the Feb. 6 trade deadline if the Cavaliers can convince a team to take on the remainder of his four-year, $120 million extension that started this season.
“Everybody wants to paint a narrative that I didn’t want to be here and just signed it because it was there,” Love said. “No, I’ve always wanted to be here.
“I don’t know what the next few weeks are going to hold, and this has been a frustrating situation, and I know this is a team that’s rebuilding and wants to go young. I’ve accepted that. Let the chips fall where they may.”
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