Max Strus shares how one phone call with a fellow NBA player played a role in him joining the Cavs

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

According to Cleveland Cavaliers forward Max Strus, a phone call he had with former Cavs star Kevin Love when he was a free agent played a part in his decision to join the squad.

Strus already had the Cavs in mind as a potential landing spot before talking to Love, but the veteran helped sell it.

“I only had to talk to him once,” Strus told “Me and Kevin talk a lot, just in general, about life. It wasn’t much that needed to be said. Whatever his word was I took it. The one conversation we had was long and thoughtful. That’s all I needed from him. I listen to everything he says. I make enough money to be in his friend group now. I cherish our friendship.”

Love gave Strus his flowers while talking to earlier this season and said he brings more to the table than just 3-point shooting.

“He’s so much more than just a straight-up knockdown shooter,” Love told “He has a certain capability and swagger to him that I’m glad people are being able to see. Think you saw that last year here, but I think he is certainly blossoming into somebody who is a very, very good NBA player and will only get better.

“I don’t think people understand how athletic he really is and how good of a basketball player he really is. He is incredibly well-rounded. He defends. Ultra competitor. I love his game and love him as a person. I always talk about little brothers like Darius [Garland]. Max became that for me as well. He is one of the guys I talk to the most and am closest to and I will be very close to him even after I’m done playing.”

The Cavaliers acquired Strus in a sign-and-trade agreement in the 2023 offseason. He has played 60 games for Cleveland so far in the 2023-24 regular season and is averaging 12.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game on 41.2 percent shooting from the field and 34.0 percent from 3-point range.

He is enjoying the best season of his career from a playmaking standpoint, as he is averaging nearly twice the number of assists per game he did with the Miami Heat a season ago (2.1), which was his previous career-high.

But he has been sidelined ever since a loss to the New York Knicks on March 3, which was over a fortnight ago. He’ll look to return as soon as he’s able.

Love, meanwhile, is in his second season with the Heat and was an important part of the Miami squad that reached the 2023 NBA Finals.

But before Love joined Miami, he spent nine seasons playing for the Cavaliers. During that time, he earned a pair of All-Star appearances and won an NBA title back in 2016, when he played alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

Love’s time in Cleveland came to an end when he and the Cavaliers agreed to a buyout back in February of 2023.

Shortly after the buyout occurred, Love agreed to a deal with the Heat. Following the end of his first season in Miami, the 35-year-old inked a two-year deal with the team in the 2023 offseason.

Strus seemingly made a wise decision to join the Cavaliers, who have one of the best records in the Eastern Conference this season. But it may not be a guarantee that he would be with the team right now if it weren’t for the phone call he had with Love months ago.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.