That seemed to be the upshot of a postgame question asked of Cavs coach David Blatt following Cleveland’s most recent defeat, a 103-84 loss to Sacramento. Per SB Nation:
Following a 103-84 blowout road loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, Blatt was asked how a team with two “max players” on the court could be playing so poorly. Blatt responded with what appears to be as a shot at forward Kevin Love.
“Kevin’s not a max player yet, is he?” Blatt said, via Sactown Royalty’s Blake Ellington. “I mean what does that mean?” When the term was clarified as meaning one of the best players in the league, Blatt responded with a simple “OK,” later adding that Cleveland’s five-game losing streak “can happen to any team.”
There are a lot of problems with that:
1) Love is, in fact a “max” player in that the contract he signed with the Wolves was for the maximum dollar figure.
2) But Blatt seems to be referring less to the money Love is making and more to his performance on the floor. A coach can say what he wants, but calling out a player like that — if that was the intent — probably isn’t going to sit well.
3) It won’t sit well, in particular, with a guy like Love — who for as talented as he is always seems to be playing as though he’s battling a perception that he’s not worthy of star status. If Blatt is trying to push Love’s buttons, that’s not the one to push.
All that said, this Cavs season sure looks like last year’s Wolves season: a .500 record and Love putting up big numbers — 23.4 ppg and 13.8 rpg in his past five games, all losses.