The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the best teams in the NBA over the last three months, but their season was tumultuous at times, from early growing pains to LeBron James and Kevin Love’s perpetually awkward relationship.
Wednesday night, when asked who he’d vote MVP by Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, James couldn’t help but take one more shot at Love by saying, “Who would be my vote? Um, Kevin Love.”
James was joking, and reportedly smiled afterward, but it has a deeper backstory.
James responded by saying people shouldn’t fault Love and that he’s entitled to his opinions.
Around that same time, Love appeared on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” and didn’t have the most glowing review of his relationship with James:
“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. I think our relationship is also evolving.”
LeBron and Love’s awkward relationship has extended to social media, too, where LeBron has rarely included Love in his Instagram posts:
Included in their strange social media beef was a tweet from LeBron in February, in which he referenced a Kevin Love quote about “fitting out” in training camp:
Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN. Be apart of something special! Just my thoughts
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 8, 2015
James later admitted that it was directed at Love, who was struggling to adapt his game to the Cavs’ style.
And yet, despite all of this weirdness, LeBron and Love have actually fit pretty well on the court. The LeBron-Love pairing is outscoring opponents by 10 points per 100 possessions — a higher rate than the LeBron-Kyrie Irving pairing.
Though LeBron and Love may not get along, it seems their relationship is sturdy enough that they can still play together and succeed on the court. Unless this innocent-seeming joke is the straw that breaks their relationship, the Cavs still enter the playoffs as the heavy favourites to win the East.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.