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It didn’t take Captain Obvious making an appearance for the basketball world to know the Cleveland Cavaliers needed a change after the way their season was collapsing since Christmas.
Speaking at All-Star Saturday in Los Angeles, Kevin Love didn’t dodge it when asked if the deadline-day makeover done by first-year general manager Koby Altman was necessary.
“Yeah, I think that was pretty apparent,” Love, who earned an All-Star selection for the fifth time, but will watch as a spectator for the second consecutive season because of injury, this one a broken left hand suffered Jan. 30 in Detroit, said. Love missed the All-Star Game last season because of arthroscopic knee surgery.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) February 18, 2018
The Cavaliers (34-22) entered the break on a four-game winning streak, but were on the brink of a complete meltdown after Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade reportedly came at Love at a team meeting after an embarrassing 148-124 home loss to Oklahoma City.
Love left that game three minutes in with an illness, showered, dressed and left the arena before the game ended and was not at practice the following day. When Love returned to practice, the infamous team meeting took place.
The subsequent moving out of the aforementioned Thomas and Wade, along with Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder and the infusion of Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., George Hill and Rodney Hood on deadline day (Feb. 8) infused a much-needed jolt into the Cavaliers, Love said.
“It might not have been a bad thing to get some fresh faces in there and guys from situations where they really wanted to win,” Love said. “I think first and foremost, seeing those (new) guys in Atlanta, they didn’t play, but they got there right after the trade and they just said they want to win.
“You can tell when somebody says it, you can tell when somebody means it. They really meant it and it felt good to have that there.”
Asked about Wade, specifically, Love did not see a problem between himself and the veteran guard, who was traded back home to the Miami Heat.
“If there was a lot of friction, I didn’t see it,” he said. “I know that guys were pissed that we were losing during a time that it happened.
“I think there was a number of guys that used (Cavaliers coach) Ty Lue as … a sounding board and wanted to bounce ideas off him, and D-Wade was one of those guys.”
Love, who has resumed running and slated to have the cast on his left hand removed at the halfway point of his projected eight-week recovery time, expressed guarded optimism of what the Cavaliers can get done in their final 26 regular-season games before the playoffs tip off in mid-April.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens,” he said. “I feel like if we get a couple months under our belt playing together we can be tough.”