Kevin Love‘s latest display of anger raises the question of why the Cavaliers are willing to be so patient with him when they won’t do the same for other players, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Frustrated with not getting a foul call in Monday’s game, Love swatted the ball away when a referee threw it to him for an inbounds pass. It bounced to a Raptors player and led to an open three-pointer in a lopsided loss. Love apologized for the incident, and the team handled it internally.
It’s the latest in a series of outbursts involving Love, whose behavior keeps getting overlooked by the organization, Vardon contends. It happened during the same week as a 50-point game by Kevin Porter Jr., who was traded to Houston after throwing food at the wall and screaming at general manager Koby Altman when his locker was given away. The Cavaliers stopped playing J.R. Smith and Andre Drummond under similar circumstances and eventually waived both players.
Cleveland has fewer options when it comes to Love, Vardon adds. He still has two years and $60MM left on the contract extension he signed as a show of loyalty after LeBron James left. It’s too expensive for other teams to consider a trade or for a buyout to be realistic. The front office promised Love that it would try to remain competitive when he signed the deal, Vardon notes, but the team quickly switched to rebuilding.
Love is 32, coming off a string of injuries and is posting the worst statistical season of his career, so he and the team may be stuck in an unpleasant situation for a while longer.
There’s more from Cleveland:
- Vardon expects the Cavs to offer Collin Sexton a rookie scale extension this summer, despite the fact that it might not be in their best interest. Vardon doesn’t see a strong market for Sexton if he becomes a restricted free agent in 2022, even though he has developed into a reliable scorer. Sexton still tends to dominate the ball a lot, and the Cavs might be better off waiting another year to see if he and Darius Garland can be a successful backcourt, but Vardon believes they will give Sexton the extension to show Love and the other veteran players that the team has a plan that’s being followed.
- Matthew Dellavedova is likely out for the rest of the season, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The veteran guard suffered a neck strain April 25 and hasn’t been with the team since. Dellavedova’s absence is part of why the Cavs hope to be granted a hardship exception to sign Anderson Varejão. The front office wants the 38-year-old big man to finish his NBA career in Cleveland, where he was a popular figure during his 12 years with the team.
- The Cavaliers are focused on developing their young players as they wind down a disappointing, injury-filled season, Fedor adds in a separate story.