Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff, who was freshly shaven after the All-Star break, had a six-word response to whether forward Kevin Love’s jersey should be retired in Cleveland, wrote Cleveland.com Cavs reporter Chris Fedor in a Wednesday tweet.
“For sure,” Bickerstaff said. “No reason not to.”
Kevin Love earned his place in Cavs history with top-10 spots in multiple categories for the Cavaliers. He placed 10th all-time with just over 2,500 field goals made, second all-time in 3-pointers made with just under 1,100, third all-time in defensive rebounds with 3,720 and first in Cavaliers history with a defensive rebound percentage of 29.7%.
Love averaged a double-double during his 15-year NBA career, earning a streak of three All-Star selections in four years between 2010 and 2014. Though he pushed his way through several rebuilding seasons for the Cavs, he saw his minutes decline in favor of forward Dean Wade as the new year rolled around.
Bickerstaff said he could sense Love’s unhappiness over the weeks before the buyout request, according to Fedor. Love was not disruptive of the situation despite being out of the rotation.
“Kevin wants to play,” JB Bickerstaff said, via Spencer Davies of Basketballnews.com. “I understand it. He wants to be on the floor. He can help teams. He believes that. I think it’s that frustration of not being able to participate with your teammates that you could feel and you could sense.”
Love had a strong take of his own when asked if now-Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving, a teammate of Love’s for three seasons, should have his jersey hanging in the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse rafters.
“Without a doubt,” Kevin Love told Cleveland.com. “Absolutely. Right away, after his career ends. It’s not even a question to me. He needs to be up there.”
The Cavs will tip off against the Denver Nuggets at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcasted on Bally Sports Ohio.