Jerry Colangelo threw Kevin Love of the Cavs under the bus.
You won’t find many people defending Cavs‘ forward Kevin Love these days and probably for good reason. He’s single-handily shot himself in the foot with his antics both on and off the court, he’s known to rub teammates the wrong way, and let’s not even talk about his childish reaction of punching seats. His injuries aren’t on him, that’s the nature of the beast, but it has contributed to a decline in play. This isn’t an anomaly, it’s his new normal. So it was all rather perplexing when the Director of the US Men’s team for the Olympics, Jerry Colangelo, not only took him on the team but then cut a scathing interview about Love.
Now, a lot of people will throw out the memed up “…where the lie, though?” line, and frankly, that’s not the point. No, Love shouldn’t have been on the US Men’s team. We all knew that, but ultimately though, Love didn’t make that call. Colangelo did. Why did he? Well, Colangelo spoke to Brian Windhurst and was very candid about that decision.
"If we don’t win, people will have their opportunity to take shots. I’m the one that has to look in the mirror and know that I did my best…I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play. I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play. He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us. And on the basis of that, we’re looking at someone with international experience who at one time was a heck of a rebounder and could still shoot the ball. You know, being like a 12th man on a roster. Well, it didn’t work out. He wasn’t in shape. And he was way behind as it turned out. So you move on. Call it a mistake. Call it giving someone an opportunity. Someone who had equity with us."
So he knew Love couldn’t play, but took him on anyway? Then he throws him under the bus for “not being in shape”, which is bizarre, as Love has never been known to be out of shape. The problem that many have with Colangelo’s opinion is that line right there. It seemed unnecessary and rude. Tacky at least, and cruel at worst. Colangelo made the decision after seeing Love play in the 2020-2021 season and felt he was good enough to bring him on. So now it’s Love’s fault?
Did he not know of Love’s lingering issues with his legs?
The cringy shot at Love’s conditioning is one thing, but he flat out passed the buck on the decision to take Love. What’s even funnier is that Colangelo said Trae Young wasn’t “ready” yet, despite Young’s star-making performance in the playoffs.
"I’m happy that (Young) wants to play for USA Basketball. He’s done really well in the NBA. But predicated on what we felt we needed, he didn’t fit the bill this time around. He’s a young player, he has a future with USA Basketball, but it was the opinion of our staff that it wasn’t now. It’s for others to make the declaration you made a mistake’."
Colangelo’s contradiction from Love (“Call it a mistake”) to Young (“It’s for others…”) shows you that he’s not the man to be making the decisions anymore. Leadership requires accountability and in this entire interview with Windhurst, Colangelo took none. He made one bad move after another and it potentially may sink the Men’s National Team, because the World has caught up.
Jerry Colangelo owes Kevin Love and the US an apology for the 2020 Men’s Team
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Team USA is 1-1 in the Olympics as of right now, while teams like Australia, France, Slovenia, and Spain are undefeated. This shouldn’t be surprising as Australia has six NBA players, France has five including Rudy Gobert, Spain has three pro players including new Cavs guard Ricky Rubio and former NBA standout Rudy Fernandez, who left the NBA of his own accord. Slovenia has just one, but that one is Luka Doncic.
Team USA no longer has the best team by default because America is no longer the single place for prime talent. Colangelo messed up the roster, and blaming Love isn’t the way forward.
Colangelo may have ruined his legacy with the 2020 Olympic games with his bizarre desire to take Love on in the first place, which was rightfully criticized, but at the end of the day, it was Colangelo’s decision. Blaming Love when everyone, and yes, everyone, had an issue with Love playing for Team USA was a cowardly move. Just because, as Colangelo claims, Love called him, doesn’t mean he had to take him on. Colangelo had no problem saying no to Young, but couldn’t say no to Love?
He made the decision. It’s on him, not Love.