Kevin Love Was Unhappy He Was ‘Delegated to Being Spot-Up Shooter’ During Big 3 Era

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During the time frame in which the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Big 3 of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love played together, the team reached three consecutive NBA Finals and captured one league title.

Despite that high level of success on the court, Love harbored some resentment about his image off of it.

Jason Lloyd of The Athletic interviewed Love on a variety of topics, one of which dealt with his dealings with the media, and more specifically, the change from being a key player with the Minnesota Timberwolves to being considered supplemental to James and Irving.

“I think I took it personal,” said Love. “Of course, you’re going to shoulder a lot of the blame. I had come from a situation where we basically had a revolving door of players and coaches. We never really built anything, and a lot of that rested on me. I was upset at a lot of people for not only our team’s shortcomings but my shortcomings. I had put them off to the side. So when I got here and I ended up being a guy that was first or second in line, or third in line because Bron would get some of that as well, I’d take it personally. And I knew at times I wasn’t getting the best out of my talent and that worked both ways. That was part of letting Bron and Kyrie shine, but I was also delegated at times to being a spot-up shooter.”

However, the 30-year-old Love did acknowledge that the Cavaliers being able to come back and capture the 2016 NBA title removed a heavy burden from his shoulders:

“I think winning a championship and winning solves everything. I realized that sacrificing for the better of the team and us winning at a very high level that everything else was going to come if I just settled into my role and my position on this team. I knew my talent, I knew how good I was and individual accolades I had to put to the side. But this right now, me feeling like this, would’ve never happened had I not gone through that. So I’m thankful for that. I think I’m a better teammate, a better person and player because of that. I also think now after last year, which was a very tough year away from basketball, that has helped me just every day admitting what I go through and who I am.”

Last season, the Big 3 was reduced by one following the trade of Irving, with turmoil within the team during the year and Love’s personal issues making the veteran’s life difficult. Those issues began to fade when Love made public his struggles with panic attacks and other mental health concerns, for which he received resounding support from teammates and others around the league.

Love is the only remaining member of the Big 3 following James’ departure last July, though he’s expressed a willingness to be part of the Cavaliers’ rebuilding program. This season has seen the veteran play in only 11 games due to injury, though he’s still averaging 18.4 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

The Cavaliers will next be in action on Wednesday when they travel to face the Brooklyn Nets.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.