Kevin Love: 'I've Been a S--thead' at Times; Cavs Need to 'Check on Ourselves'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2020

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love controls the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Veteran forward Kevin Love took some personal responsibility for the Cleveland Cavaliers' struggles this season and the departure of head coach John Beilein on Wednesday.

According to WKYC's Ben Axelrod, Love suggested that he and his teammates need to improve their attitudes during the second half of the season:

"We gotta do a little check on ourselves too. We gotta look at ourselves in the mirror too. I was talking about passing that mirror test. Definitely myself—I've been a s--thead at some points this season. I let losing get the best of me, and nobody likes to do that ... it's really just looking at ourselves and finding out how we can get better. And from there, trying to put it all together."

After an Eastern Conference-worst 14-40 start to the season, the Cavs and Beilein officially parted ways Wednesday less than one season into his five-year contract. J.B. Bickerstaff will take over as the team's new head coach.

Love said he "respect[s] the hell out of" Beilein and added:

"Us players, in some ways—really, in a lot of ways—we could have been a lot better. Naturally we have a lot of young players on this team. As veterans, we're trying to figure out ways to help young fellas, as well as the coaching staff. When you look at things in their entirety and as an accumulation, that's when you start to see the story. It's really not just one man."

There have been several reports of behind-the-scenes issues regarding the Cavs this season, and Love was the subject of a few of them.

In January, Joe Vardon and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Love had an "emotional verbal outburst" toward general manager Koby Altman and expressed his "displeasure and disgust with the organization."

Also, during a January loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Love showed visible frustration with second-year guard Collin Sexton, which he later apologized for:

Another major issue within the team surfaced last month when Beilein said during a film session the Cavs were playing "like a bunch of thugs." Beilein apologized and said he meant to say "slugs," but Cavs players were reportedly shocked by the situation, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

That led to some players loudly playing songs that featured the word "thug" when they were around Beilein, according to Vardon, Charania and Jason Lloyd.

The Cavaliers have been a magnet for controversy this season, and much of that likely has to do with the fact that they own the NBA's second-worst record.

Cleveland is just two seasons removed from its fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals, but ever since LeBron James left in free agency for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cavs have been among the NBA cellar dwellers.

Love is a five-time All-Star and a veteran leader who helped the Cavaliers win a championship in 2016, and while he has been the subject of trade rumors since last season, he is still with the team and sounds determined to help turn things around for as long as he remains in Cleveland.

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