There's a lot of drama surrounding the Cavaliers and much of it has to do with star big man Kevin Love. Cavs teammates reportedly called out Love for when he left their 148-124 loss to the Thunder on Saturday. Love has always been a bit of an awkward fit with the Cavs, but he did help them win a championship two years ago.
There was a time where that awkward fit was a much more pronounced problem. According to CBS Sports NBA analyst Raja Bell, a former Cavaliers executive, during Love's first year he was "as much of an outcast as you can be" and they even had a huge trade for him on the table. Bell in a discussion about Love on the Off The Bench with Kanell and Bell podcast.
"When I was in Cleveland. Kevin Love was as much of an outcast as you can be on a team. It's the dynamic of being in a locker room that's just culturally a lot different than you. I say that and I think everybody understands black and white kind of deal. I was in a locker room with Matt Harpring in Philadelphia. Matt Harpring was miserable. He just was. Culturally this was when A.I. was rocking big gold chains and super baggy Reebok, sweatsuits, and everybody had due rag on and avirex jackets. We were a hip hop squad. And there sat Matt Harpring. And Matt was my guy and still is to this day and I would feel awful. I would look across the locker room and be like Jesus, he's just so out of place. He can't figure out, even if he wanted to be involved, which I'm sure he did, he couldn't figure out culturally what they had in common. It just didn't work.
There was an element of that when I was in Cleveland. They figured that out, they put it to bed. LeBron went to L.A. had these conversations with Kevin Love, but it was so bad that first year that I was on a phone call with Dan Gilbert and our whole brass and we had a big deal on the table to move Kevin Love in the first year and I was like 'Move him' not because I didn't think he was a good player. I just couldn't see them figuring out how to work as people together."
It's crazy to think of what could have been had Bell's call to move Love gone through. He didn't go into the details of the trade, but Love was acquired for 2014 No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Andrew Wiggins that offseason. He was supposed to be the third guy with James and Kyrie Irving that would help the Cavs win a championship. In the end that's exactly what he became, but at the time there were clearly some issues beyond the court that had to be worked out.
Now, as the Cavs try to move on from yet another moment of drama, here is Love once again in the middle of the situation. The Cavs didn't move him the first time, but it will be interesting to see if they choose to pull the trigger on a deal this time around. If that's the case there will always be a question if the locker room dynamic played a part in that.