The Cleveland Cavaliers may have LeBron James and Kevin Love on their roster, but both men have yet to form a close friendship off the court. Their lack of chemistry has fueled speculation that Love could leave the team when he potentially becomes a free agent at the end of this season.
According to Joe Vardon of Northeast Ohio Media Group, Love admitted that his relationship was "evolving" with superstar James, adding that they were not close. However, he did indicate to ESPN's Mike & Mike that the current relationship is just "fine."
"You know, we're not best friends, we're not hanging out every day, but we see each other every day, whether we're at the practice facility, whether we're on the road or going to a game," Love said. "I think our relationship is also evolving. I could say the same with each and every coach, coach Blatt, and each and every player on the team. But, that's part of the NBA."
Vardon reported that James originally recruited Love to agree to a trade to Cleveland last summer. However, James tried to publicly call out Love on Twitter for his supposed lack of engagement.
"Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN," James wrote on Feb. 7. "Be a part of something special! Just my thoughts."
That sense of a strained relationship also showed when James posted a picture on Instagram with the caption "Clique Up" with his teammates after the team's 108-90 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. Vardon noticed that Love was not in that picture.
"As long as it's for the greater good, then it's fine," Love said with a chuckle. "I'm sure he's going to have me in the next picture, we'll see."
In a highly unusual move, Vardon reported that Love recently picked a former teammate over James for NBA MVP. He selected former UCLA teammate and current Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook over King James for the top honor.
"They're both having an MVP-type season, but I'm going to go with Russell Westbrook because every single night you're looking at his stat sheet, they're fighting for a playoff spot, with Serge Ibaka going down now, Kevin Durant potentially being out the rest of the year and him still going out there and fighting for his team, and winning, and fighting for that seventh or eighth spot in the playoffs," Love said. "I think Russ is arguably having the better season."
According to Vardon, Love cited the fact that James took two weeks off to rest from sports injuries. However, James has played 61 games this season compared to Westbrook, who's only been in 55 games.
However, Love does not regret being on the Cleveland roster, despite the lack of chemistry with James.
"Knowing my teammates have my back, coach knows I'm going to be a pro going out there every single night, and just trying to find ways to affect this team in different ways, that's what I've been trying to do," Love said.
However, NBA legend Alonzo Mourning told Adam Figman of Slam Magazine that Love seemed to be unhappy with his current situation in Cleveland. He made the comments when asked about why James left the Miami Heat for Cleveland.
"Why walk away from a dynasty when you have to go somewhere and rebuild, basically?" Mourning said. "Then you've got Kevin Love, who's not happy at all. He's outta there."
Mourning speculated that if Love pursues free agency, he could end up in Los Angeles.
"I think he's probably going to L.A.," Mourning said. "I could see that."