Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt said that his struggling team is going through a “lot of trials and tribulations, a lot of change” and had pointed comments for one of his star players as he tried to explain why the team is not clicking.
Cleveland, playing without injured star LeBron James, lost its fifth straight game on Sunday, a 103-84 rout at the hands of the Sacramento Kings.
After the game, Blatt got testy with a reporter when asked why the team is struggling despite having two players in the lineup that make the NBA’s maximum salary, guard Kyrie Irving and forward Kevin Love.
"Kevin's not a max player yet," Blatt said, according to Sactown Royalty.
On Monday, Blatt clarified his comments to reporters, saying he meant that Love is not a max player on Cleveland's roster because they aren't allowed to talk about future contracts. Blatt said he spoke to Love afterwards about the comment, and Love said he understands his coach now that he has context.
Love signed a four-year maximum deal worth $60.8 million in 2012 when he was a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Players can often receive five or more years in a maximum deal.
Love, who is averaging 17.9 points and 10.5 rebounds a game, is making $16.74 million this season. He can opt out of that deal this summer and could receive another max deal from the Cavaliers or another team.
Cleveland is 19-19 this season and has lost the first two games of its West Coast road trip, which finishes with games against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday and the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
- Scooby Axson