Kevin Love apologizes to Cavaliers after slapping inbounds pass for a turnover out of frustration

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has apologized for his behavior during Monday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors where he was seen smacking an inbounds pass to the opponent as opposed to passing it to a teammate. The Cavaliers plan to handle the situation internally and move past it, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

When asked about the moment after the 112-96 loss, Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said Love apologized to his teammates, but didn’t want to address it any further.

“You’ll have to ask Kevin,” Bickerstaff said after the game. “We talked about it. He apologized to his teammates for it and we’ll move on.”

The play in question came with 33 seconds left in the third quarter with the Cavaliers down four points. After Raptors guard Malachi Flynn made a driving layup, Love was pushed into the stanchion and appeared to be frustrated that no foul was called. When the referee gave him the ball to inbound it, he just swatted at the ball, which led to Toronto gaining possession and nailing a 3-pointer.

Cleveland guard Darius Garland said after the game that while he didn’t see it, he thinks Love was just frustrated for the lack of foul calls on the previous few possessions.

“I didn’t see it,” Garland said. “I was trying to get my defender off me. It’s probably on social media, so when I get on the bus I’m probably (going to) look. Something like that happens, we just have to get on to the next play. That was just a little breakdown that he had, it was nothing serious. He got whacked on one end and he got whacked on the defensive end and they didn’t call it. He just got frustrated, that was it.”

Being frustrated in a game is understandable, but in that moment in time the Cavaliers were within reach of winning that game. Instead, Toronto went on a run in the fourth quarter to secure the win, which was fueled by Love’s moment of frustration. It’s also not the first time Love has done something like this before.

There was a moment last season where he was frustrated that guard Collin Sexton was holding the ball too long, and Love clapped his hands in frustration to get the ball and immediately flung a hard pass to Cedi Osman to show he was annoyed with the lack of ball movement.

Love apologized for that, too. He’s also gotten into verbal arguments with Cavaliers general manager Coby Altman that resulted in a $1,000 fine by the team last season. It’s clear Love isn’t happy in Cleveland, and considering he’s a former All-Star with a championship to his name, it’s not surprising. The Cavaliers are in the middle of a rebuild centered around young guys like Sexton and Garland, and Love doesn’t really fit into this team’s picture going forward.

However, with two years and $60 million remaining on his contract, a trade involving Love would be a little complicated to pull off. Since the 2016-17 season, the season after the Cavaliers won a championship, Love’s production and health has steadily declined, especially over the past three seasons. This season, he’s played in just 18 games and averaged 11 points a night, the lowest since his rookie season. Last season, he managed to average 17.6 points and 9.8 rebounds a game, proving he still has plenty left in the tank to be productive, but this year has not been kind to him or the Cavaliers.

Love has been a trade candidate for a few seasons now, but nothing has come to fruition. Perhaps this upcoming offseason will be the time that he joins another team, either through a trade or if he and Cleveland can come to an agreement on a buyout deal.


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