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Cleveland’s Kevin Love regrets recent ‘childish’ outbursts during games

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CLEVELAND — Kevin Love knows he should have better handled his recent frustrations.

He was childish.

“I wasn’t acting like a 31-year-old, I was acting like a 13-year-old,” Love said. “That was not me.”

The Cavaliers star forward spoke openly and in depth Tuesday for the first time since an outburst on the bench in Toronto last week and for showing up his teammates and coaches during a loss to Oklahoma City on Saturday.

Love threw his arms up in disgust several times on the floor, fired a hard pass in anger and had his back turned on defense as one of the Thunder’s players streaked past him for a basket.

Also, before that game, Love got into a verbal exchange with general manager Koby Altman because he was angry at being fined for losing his cool against the Raptors on Dec. 31. Love said the situation was overblown in the media and that he and Altman spoke before Sunday’s game against Minnesota and are on good terms.

“I went in there and talked to Koby about it in conversation,” Love said following the morning shootaround as the Cavs prepared to host Detroit. “Came to the arena, Koby and I were great, gave him a (fist) pound right when I came in. There was no altercation, there was no screaming match, you can ask him, that’s what it was.”

Love has been the subject of trade rumors almost since the moment he arrived in Cleveland five years ago, and it’s likely the young and rebuilding Cavs will deal him before the Feb. 6 deadline to add future assets.

Not long after LeBron James left as a free agency following the 2017 season, the Cavs signed Love to a four-year, $120 million contract. They wanted him to be the center piece of their rebuild but things haven’t gone exactly as planned as the team has made a coaching change and move several veteran players.

Love could be next. But he has no regrets about staying with Cleveland.

“No,” he said when asked if he wished he hadn’t signed the deal. “It’s there. Everybody wants to paint a narrative that I didn’t want to be here and just signed it because it was there. No, I’ve always wanted to be here. I don’t know what the next few weeks are going to hold and this has been a frustrating situation and I know this is a team that’s rebuilding and wants to go young.

“I’ve accepted that. Let the chips fall where they may.”

Love has been open in the past about his struggles with anxiety and depression. He’s become a national advocate for mental wellness. The stress of the past two seasons have taken a toll, but he said he’s learning to cope when faced with challenges.

“I think you have to see all sides of it, and I’ve had to take a step back the last number of years and do that as well,” he said. “Seeing things in their entirety when things are bad, when things are kind of not at a place where you want them to be is super hard. I think that transcends the basketball court, professional sports, any walk of life. I think we can all be better.”

Love acknowledged his failings over the past weeks and vowed to learn from them. He’s had a hard time coping with the reality that he’s not going to win another NBA title with Cleveland, but that can’t affect the ways he acts toward teammates, coaches, fans and media members.

He’s a work in progress.

“I’ve been at ease,” he said. “People ask me, `Hey, are you OK?’ and `What’s going on?’ I’m like, I’m good. Listen … I showed my actions on a national level. That was childish of me, and just goes to show you, I’m an unfinished product, like anybody.

“That’s why I speak to you guys not Kevin Love the basketball player, as a human because it’s no B.S. I just want to be authentic. I know I can get a lot better, and that can’t go on here, especially when you have young guys that you are trying to help and I told that I would help.

“So, I got to be a better leader, but also a better person as somebody who has more often than not a majority of the time done the right thing, said the right thing, and shown that I can.”

Rockets to add Spurs buyout DeMarre Carroll, free agent Jeff Green

Spurs forward DeMarre Caroll
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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that DeMarre Carroll and the San Antonio Spurs have agreed to a buyout. Carroll will then sign with the Houston Rockets:

ESPN’s Tim McMahon added in a subsequent report that the Rockets will bring in free agent forward Jeff Green:

Green will first sign a 10-day contract with the Rockets, so he can get used to their system and see if there is a fit, Woj reported.

Carroll signed a three-year, $20.65 million contract as part of a sign and trade from the Brooklyn Nets to the Spurs this past summer. That agreement was part of a three-team trade that saw San Antonio send forward Davis Bertans to the Washington Wizards. The 10-year veteran is owed $7 million for this season, $6.65 million for 2020-21 and $1.35 million guaranteed for 2021-22. San Antonio will incur a cap hit for each of the three seasons as part of the buyout process with Carroll. How much of a cap hit will depend on how much money Carroll gave up as part of the buyout agreement.

Carroll was added via sign and trade after Marcus Morris spurned the Spurs in free agency. Morris had originally agreed to sign with San Antonio, but backed out after the New York Knicks offered him $15 million as a free agent. The Spurs moved on to Carroll as a backup plan, but he was never able to crack the rotation. He’s played only 135 minutes over 15 games with San Antonio.

Green was with the Utah Jazz earlier this season, before being waived to create a roster spot for Rayjon Tucker. The 11-year veteran Green averaged 7.7 points per game in 30 appearances with Utah. The Rockets will be the ninth different franchise Green has played for.

In Houston, Carroll and Green will join Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball crew as big man depth. Carroll and Green will likely back up P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington up front. Their experience at both forward spots will give the Rockets additional depth for their playoff run. Carroll and Green are also likely be to asked to play some center, as Houston has downsized dramatically at that position, including trading Clint Capela at the trade deadline.

NBA players’ union votes to support formation of G-League union

Kyrie Irving
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Better pay. Better working conditions. Not to be treated as disposable parts by their employers.

The players in the G-League want the same thing out of a union that auto workers, teachers, and (most obviously) NBA players do. As had been expected (talks had been going on for a while), on Monday the National Basketball Players Association (the NBA players’ union) voted to support the formation of a G-League union, a story broken by Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The G-League players are expected to support this. Sources have told NBC Sports that team and league officials will not oppose the players unionizing, they believe there will be benefits, too.

The primary issue will be pay. Most players in the G-League earn a $35,000 salary, unless they’re an elite high school prospect, or on a two-way contract (which means they are tied to an NBA team and can be called up for 45 days a season). Some players make more through an Exhibit 10 contract with a team — meaning they go to training camp with a team, then get a bonus ($50,000 or so) if they sign with that team’s G-League team.

Other issues would include freedom of player movement, work benefits, and giving the players a voice in other matters like discipline issues.

The NBA continues to push toward each of its teams having a minor-league affiliate. Right now, only the Trail Blazers and Nuggets do not. As the G-League grows, it’s understandable the players want a larger voice in how things are run.

In other news out of the players’ union meeting, Kyrie Irving was voted in as vice president, replacing Paul Gasol. Via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Chris Paul remains the union president.

Check out Dr. Dre’s Kobe Bryant tribute

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CHICAGO — In a weekend filled with spectacular tributes to Kobe Bryant, this one stood out.

Legendary rapper, songwriter, record producer, and businessman Dr. Dre — a guy who grew up in Los Angeles — released a tribute that stood out (and was highlighted on TNT). Dre did this with Gibson Hazard and Jackson Bannon.

Kobe’s public memorial service takes place Feb. 24 at Staples Center.

Giannis Antetokounmpo on team’s All-Star plan: Attack James Harden

Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden
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CHICAGO – James Harden has griped about Giannis Antetokounmpo winning Most Valuable Player last year.

After his team lost to Harden’s in the All-Star game Sunday, Antetokounmpo got in a dig at Harden.

“Offensively, we were just trying to find whoever James Harden was guarding,” Antetokounmpo said of his team’s strategy late. “That’s who we thought we’d have the opportunity to score on.”

Harden is not a good defender. But this is playing right into his hands. He’s at his best in isolation, especially in the post. He faces far more difficulty when run through actions off the ball or trying to keep up in transition.

Down the stretch, Harden defended more effectively than usual. Not great, but above his usual standard. Good enough for LeBron James‘ team to win.

At least, as Giannis previously noted, the MVP trophy is at his house.