David Blatt invites trouble, suggests Kevin Love isn’t a max player ‘yet’
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt arguably caused himself some unneeded controversy with some comments he made following the team’s 103-84 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night in a game where the Cavs were down by as many as 27 points.
It was the team’s fifth-straight loss and the ninth in its past 11 games. It dropped the Cavaliers to .500 on the season (19-19). With LeBron James still on the mend and missing his eighth-straight game — although he’s expected back sometime this week — the team with title aspirations is in a complete free-fall.
Blatt acknowledged that Sunday’s ugly loss is merely indicative of the many issues currently facing the team.
“We’re going through a lot of stuff, honestly,” Blatt said after the loss to the Kings, per ESPN.com. “We’re going through a lot of trials and tribulations, a lot of changes. A lot of adjustments on the fly. Sometimes that catches up with you a little bit. Tonight was not a step forward.”
“It wasn’t a good step today. It wasn’t a good performance by us, honestly. You can’t sugarcoat it,” he said. “There were in the second half good moments, particularly on the defensive end, and offensively we executed better — we just didn’t put the ball in the hole. Generally speaking, though, that was not the performance we hoped for.”
While all of what he said about the funk the team is in is an honest, frank and essentially accurate assessment, it was comments he made in response to a reporter’s observation that could cause Blatt a few headaches in the coming days.
It was noted by a media member that even without James playing, the team still has two high-quality players, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, in the lineup.
The head coach essentially put everyone on notice that he doesn’t believe Love is quite at the level of Irving and James … yet. Responding to the assertion that both Irving and Love are “max players,” Blatt took issue with that notion, suggesting that Love hasn’t been performing up to that standard.
“Well, Kev’s not a max player yet, is he?” Blatt asked, reportedly in a testy manner.
Setting aside whether or not Love is in fact a “max player” for all intents and purposes — an argument that reasonably is worthy of debate — Blatt essentially invited an unneeded and unnecessary round of speculation, controversy and distractions related to how he views the merits of one of the star players on Cleveland’s struggling roster.
Love, despite Blatt’s protestations and regardless of if Love is truly a “max player,” likely will be able to be compensated in that manner down the road. The fact that Blatt called out one of the top-three players on the team — paired with fact that Love can opt out of his contract this summer — the first-year head coach certainly didn’t do himself any favors.
(photo credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)