CLEVELAND — Kevin Love said he learned he would be moving from starting power forward to starting center in the Cavaliers‘ lineup during a casual conversation with LeBron James, before head coach Tyronn Lue formally introduced the change to him and the team.
“I guess it wasn’t really presented in the first place,” Love said in an interview with ESPN before Tuesday’s 108-94 preseason loss to the Chicago Bulls. “I knew there was a possibility that I may or may not be playing more of the 5.”
“But a funny thing happened the third day of practice,” Love explained. “I had asked about a certain play on the defensive end and whether it was the different coverages on the 4 or 5 man, and ‘Bron kind of stopped me and goes, ‘You know you’re gonna be starting at the 5, right?’
“So I kind of looked at him and didn’t really fully understand that was going to be the case. Not that I would have trained or done anything different. I just would have started wrapping my head around it more. So that’s when I kind of knew that was coming into play, and I slowly and surely started to pick it up.”
Cleveland is going through an adjustment period as it tries to fit three new players into its starting lineup — Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder — on top of the position shift for Love. Another new addition, Isaiah Thomas, is recovering from a torn labrum in his right hip and will need to be worked back into the mix when he returns in late December.
“We’re going to get better as the season goes along, of course,” Lue said after the loss to Chicago dropped his team to 0-4 in the preseason. “But we will be better than we were tonight, for sure.”
Love shot just 1-for-12 on Tuesday, and the Cavs shot only 40.5 percent as a team.
“Didn’t make much of it at all,” Love said. “Preseason. A lot of bad stuff out there. It looked ugly, but we’re fine. … We’ll look at some stuff, clean it up. As long as we play hard, good things will happen.”