Dwyane Wade and Kevin Love had an infamous blowout in 2018.
You’d almost be forgiven if you forgot the Cavs had Dwayne Wade on the roster for the 2017-2018 season. Wade played just 46 games in a Cavs jersey, starting just three times and providing as a second-unit ballhandler. He put up 11.2 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game during his tenure before he was sent back to Miami after a season and a half away. During that time he played for Cleveland and in-division rival Chicago. His tenure was largely a mess and it came to an end most notably after a blowup with Kevin Love in late January of 2018.
The blowup happened after a loss to Oklahoma City and it was specifically over Love missing time due to mental health issues. A situation that brought Love ire most notably from Wade and Isaiah Thomas, his one-time AAU teammate from their youth. The blow-up happened on Jan 22, 2018, and Wade played his last game with the Cavs two weeks later on Feb. 6, 2018. Now Wade is recanting what happened, and taking responsibility in his hand in the fiasco.
"I had an incident in Cleveland with Kevin Love where I didn’t know that he dealt with or suffered from any mental health issues. I was on him, because I’m an old dude trying to—this is my last ride to win a championship, and I didn’t know what he was dealing with mentally. So we had a very ugly incident as a team that happened that came out in the papers and all those things about it, and then once I left Cleveland, Kevin became more outspoken and became really a voice for mental health. And I didn’t have any idea.…Kevin Love may not like me as a person because of that moment, but if I ever got the opportunity to see him again, I’d just want to apologize to him because I didn’t know what he was dealing with, and I was just trying to say, ‘We need you, we need you,’ but I didn’t know that he was dealing with something that was so serious that I could not fathom or even know what he had to deal with."
The blowup was a tipping point for the Cavs and LeBron James
This was the moment that saw a lot of changes be made. Two days after Wade was traded, the Cavs would make even more moves. Thomas, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, Derrick Rose, and their 2018 first-round draft pick were all traded in a series of moves that saw the Cavaliers bring back George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr.
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Of all those moves, only Nance remains.
The move helped in the short term, as the team gelled better and helped shooters J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver get more shots but they still weren’t good enough to compete with the Warriors in 2018. That was the same series that saw Smith throwaway Game 1 with his now-infamous moment of dribbling out the fourth quarter of a tied game instead of trying to go for the win.
It’s a play that has generated a thousand memes and almost perfectly encapsulated the 2017-2018 season. A season so full of hope but so devoid of leadership.
The entire year was beyond dysfunctional and led in part to James leaving for Los Angeles in the offseason. After the offseason was over, Ty Lue would be fired just a few games into the 2018-2019 season, and the rest of the veteran assets would be traded away for scraps.