- During the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Friday win over the Indiana Pacers, Kevin Love grabbed a rebound, then turned and bent over to give the ball to the 5-foot-9 Isaiah Thomas.
- Two reports indicated that some on the Cavs thought Love’s gesture was deliberate after Thomas had called out Love in a fiery team meeting.
- Thomas denied any friction between him and Love.
The Cleveland Cavaliers rebounded slightly over the weekend, winning two straight games after seemingly imploding to start January.
Yet even with the wins, all may not still be well for the 28-19 Cavs.
During a Friday win over the Indiana Pacers, a small moment between Kevin Love and Isaiah Thomas may hint at inner-turmoil on the team, according to the NBA world.
In the first quarter, Love secured a rebound, turned, and seemingly bent over to hand the ball to the 5-foot-9 Thomas.
Here was the play:
Though it may seem simple enough, perhaps even funny, during the fiery team meeting last week, it was Thomas who reportedly directed his ire at Love, questioning why he left a Saturday night blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder early and missed practice the next day (Love was sick).
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that one team source thought the gesture was Love’s way of trying to embarrass Thomas for calling him out in the team meeting. Similarly, Joe Vardon of cleveland.com reported that several players felt Love’s gesture was deliberate.
On Saturday, Thomas shot down reports of turmoil within the Cavs. He also added of the exchange with Love: “You see I was smiling right after? Did you see that part? Okay then. There is nothing between me and Kevin Love.”
Thomas also denied any “bad blood” between him and Love, noting that the two players have known each other since middle school. Thomas also said he did not call out Love in the team meeting, as had been reported, but that he simply asked where Love went.
“There’s no bad blood between me and him,” Thomas said. We go back to fifth and sixth grade. There’s nothing between me and Kevin Love. At all. I approached him about his situation and it went out of house like it shouldn’t have. But it was not … what the world was trying to make it, like some type of beef between me and him. It’s never been that and I’ve never been that guy to do that.”
Indeed, the entire incident may have just been a joke between Love and Thomas. A clip of Love throwing his warmups onto Jeff Green also made the rounds, much to the amusement of several Cavs players.
Nonetheless, given the way the Cavs have been playing, and given the reports about a “divided” locker room, Love’s gesture was eyebrow-raising, at the least.