It seemed to culminate with a team meeting last Monday in which players confronted All-Star forward Kevin Love, who had been sick, about his absence.
In an article for Bleacher Report, however, Ken Berger reported that “the past week of turmoil” actually “goes a lot deeper than Love or any one player.”
What we’re witnessing are cracks in the winning culture and organizational structure that were supposed to have been unshakeable when James decided to return from Miami in 2014. The week of controversy surrounding Love and his absence was merely a window into that dysfunction, not the cause of it.
“This was not as much about Kevin Love as it was a bunch of players reaching their breaking point with a culture that was increasingly difficult to be a part of,” a person familiar with the organizational dynamics told B/R.
Isaiah Thomas – one of the most outspoken at the meeting – was apparently bothered by an overall lack of communication, not by Love specifically, according to Berger.
When asked to clarify his role in the players’ questioning of Love about his whereabouts last weekend, Thomas leveled an unfathomable accusation: Nobody with the team had told the players why Love was not on the bench after leaving the OKC game, why he wasn’t in the locker room afterward and why he wasn’t at practice the next day.
“I think the overall message on Monday was addressing a situation that a lot of people questioned,” Thomas said. “And we’re not talking about Kevin Love’s illness. We just didn’t know where he was, at the end of the day. To be real, we didn’t know where he was. We didn’t know why he wasn’t on the bench supporting his teammates and why he wasn’t in the locker room after the game.
“And then he missed the next practice, which it still wasn’t addressed. So we wanted to address it when we saw him or when we came together and everybody was there. And that’s what it was. … We just wanted to know where he was and why he didn’t play.”