Not everyone on the Cleveland Cavaliers learned about Kevin Love‘s buyout the same way. After all, news of Love’s request trickled in the hours following the Cavs’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last week before the All-Star Break.
At practice on Wednesday, Cavs big man Jarrett Allen was asked if the Cavs knew Love requested a buyout before the game. Allen joked with reporters in his answer, though fair warning for children of divorce.
“I was told he was going for milk and cigarettes and he never came back,” Allen responded, per ESPN’s Danny Cunningham.
If the Cavs were informed of Love’s request before the Sixers game, it could explain why Cleveland struggled out of the gate versus Philadelphia. The Sixers opened a 28-point lead before the Cavs finally clawed their way back into the game late.
Ultimately, the clock ran out on Cleveland against Philly, losing the game 118-112.
Cleveland takes the floor for the first time since Love’s request on Thursday night against the West’s No. 1 seed Denver Nuggets.
Mobley Reveals ‘Emotionally’ Charged Love Exit
Allen isn’t the only Cavs big to speak out on Love’s departure. Earlier this week, Allen’s frontcourt mate Evan Mobley explained what losing Love means to the team.
“It definitely hits you emotionally,” Mobley told Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “All the guys are going to miss him for sure, and I just hope he does great wherever he goes.”
Though he failed to see much playing time of late — Love was a coach’s DNP in each game of Cleveland’s recent seven-game win streak — he was instrumental in keeping morale high in the locker room. He also provided a proven playoff presence for a team devoid of much postseason experience outside of Donovan Mitchell.
The Cavs will no doubt lean on new signing Danny Green to provide some of that playoff experience with Love gone.
Bickerstaff Offers 4-Word Explanation for Love Buyout
Speaking with reporters after practice this week, Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff explained very simply why Kevin Love wanted out of Cleveland.
“Kevin wants to play,” Bickerstaff told reporters Wednesday.
Bickerstaff noted that he was cognizant of the fact Love wanted playing time. Unfortunately for the player, though, the Cavs hit a groove in February, rebounding from a turbulent January. Bickerstaff’s lineups frequently coalesced around the team’s young core.
“I understand that, he wants to be on the floor,” Bickerstaff continued. “He can help teams, help a team, he believes. So, I think it’s that frustration of not being able to participate with your teammates that you could feel in a good sense. He helped bring this organization to a place that it hadn’t been. To be able to win a championship anywhere, to be able to go to four straight finals, that’s something that should definitely be praised and be recognized and appreciated.”
Though he may be leaving in less-than-glamorous terms, Love has absolutely earned the respect of many in Cleveland. After the buyout was finalized, the Cavs went so far as to guarantee that Love’s jersey would hang in the rafters of Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.