Well, this is awkward.
Cleveland power forward Kevin Love said that his former college teammate, Russell Westbrook – and not his current professional teammate, LeBron James – deserves the NBA MVP award. This revelation is further evidence that Love and James may not, well, love each other.
But is that necessarily a big deal? Maybe, maybe not.
“It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before,” former NBA player Eddie Johnson said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “If you go to any team, they’ll tell you all 12 guys do not like each other. I speak for myself. I took a lot of shots, okay? And I can tell you right now: Never did 11 guys on my team like me. And I didn’t care. I could care less. I did my job, you do your job, figure it out, we’ll get along between the lines and so be it. That’s fine.
“The problem that I have with Kevin Love is he doesn’t need to talk about it to the public,” Johnson continued. “That’s my issue with him. I think he needs to be quiet. I think he just needs to play. I thought it was wrong. Although he is close to Westbrook, to choose someone on a different team as being MVP – you just don’t do it. I don’t care if he’s your friend or not; that guy that you chose Westbrook over is the guy that’s going to help you win a championship, so why would you say anything negative about that guy?
“So I just think the performance of guys all around this year at certain times has been down, but Kevin Love is a guy that obviously is upset that he’s not getting the touches he thought he would or things haven’t really culminated exactly as he (thought they) would. But guess what? Cleveland’s playing the best ball in the NBA, (and) he has an opportunity to do something. He has not had a chance to 1) make the playoffs and 2) make the NBA Finals. I think because of that, he just needs to be quiet and play his game.”
Love is averaging 16.6 points (his lowest since 2009-10) and 10.0 rebounds (his lowest since 2008-09). But the Cavs (47-27) are 28-7 in their last 35 games and are second in the Eastern Conference.
Damon Amendolara wondered if the rift between Love and James – if you can call it that – is being blown out of proportion by the modern media, or if this is something that have been frowned upon in any era.
“It would be frowned on,” Johnson said. “When you go to fight with a teammate every night, that’s who you support. I had good friends all around the league, but I guarantee you I would never ever put them above my teammates. Never. You just don’t do that. That was the wrong thing to do. There’s no way around it. It bothered me that I heard it. Obviously he rectified it probably privately, but believe me, I’m sure LeBron might come out and say Kevin Love was okay to say that, but he wasn’t. You can’t tell me LeBron was excited about what he said. No way. (Love) just needs to stay focused and worry about his team and don’t about someone else getting MVP that’s not in a Cleveland Cavalier uniform.”