Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt noted that he doesn't consider forward Kevin Love to be a 'max player.'
After the Cleveland Cavaliers lost their fifth straight game, coach David Blatt was asked the obvious. Does the team miss LeBron James? He hardly needed to answer that one, of course they do. The Cavaliers are 1-8 without James in the lineup and they're currently on a streak that's seen them lose nine of their last eleven, largely in James' absence.
Another reporter pointed out that the team has two other players who have max-term and money contracts. Blatt quickly refuted that talk, saying Kevin Love isn't a max player yet.
At the very least, Kevin Love's contract begs to differ. While he didn't receive the max in 2012 from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Love did receive a max annual contract value over the course of four years from Minnesota before being traded to the Cavaliers for first overall pick Andrew Wiggins and draft picks. Given his career numbers and production, Love and the Wolves are hardly the only parties who see him as a top player in the NBA.
This awkward interview speaks to a chasm between coach and players. If you have a player with a max contract, it seems a bit disrespectful to label him as less than such regardless of what you think.
No one's saying Kevin Love is a perfect player, but he was brought in with the idea of offering more high-end scoring options to complement James and Irving. If the first half of his first season in Cleveland is already enough to drive the coach to say this about Love, what will happen going forward when the team is back together and LeBron James has returned?
Love is set to hit free agency after this season and you can bet he'll command another max deal if he so desires. If the Cavaliers don't think he's worth that, another team will in a hot minute. Given what this team gave up to get Love, that would be an unparalleled disaster to lose him after just one season.
If Blatt continues to undermine the value of his players, you can expect either the players or the coach to leave town by the end of the season, if not sooner.
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