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LeBron not irked by Love's comments

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — The reoccurring saga between LeBron James and Kevin Love turned again Tuesday, but James didn’t seem to take offense to Love choosing the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook for Most Valuable Player.

“Kev has his own opinion who he believes is MVP,” James said. “No one should fault him for that.”

The latest brush fire occurred Monday when Love said on Dan Patrick’s radio show he would choose Westbrook, the Thunder’s All-Star guard and his former UCLA teammate, as the league’s MVP this season over James.

It didn’t take long for the interview to erupt across social media, although Love seemed frustrated Tuesday only one small snippet of the answer had been pulled and circulated.

“If you choose to get the little three- or four-second clip of my whole answer, I said LeBron could very well be the MVP, Steph Curry, James Harden,” Love said Tuesday. “Those are guys you all talk about and you know very well all of them could be the MVP.”

James will finish in the top 5 of most ballots, but isn’t considered a strong candidate to win in his first season back in Cleveland. He is averaging fewer points and rebounds than any season since his rookie year and his Player Efficiency Rating is its lowest in eight years.

Westbrook is second in PER this year, the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry is fourth, the Houston Rockets’ James Harden is fifth and James is seventh.

James might lose points because his season statistically hasn’t been on par with his four previous MVP seasons, but James believes he shouldn’t be judged on history.

“Do I win? When I’m on the floor am I playing at a high level? That’s all I care about,” James said. “When I’m on the floor is my team winning? That has a lot to do with it.”

All of this MVP debate is new terrain for coach David Blatt, who has spent his entire career overseas. The MVP in the Euroleague is voted on by coaches, not the media, and Blatt said it is rarely discussed.

“It’s not something that’s gauged and written about or spoken about,” Blatt said. “First and always is what the teams are doing and the various competitions they’re playing. At the end of the day they decide who the MVP is, but it’s almost never talked about.”

As for the latest turn in the Love-James relationship, it follows a strange exchange earlier this season when James sent a tweet encouraging people to fit in rather than trying to fit out. It was the same language used by Love earlier in the season when he said teammates were encouraging him to “fit out” and be himself rather than trying to fit in.

James initially denied the tweet had anything to do with Love, then later confirmed to a small group of reporters it was aimed at his teammate. The next day, however, James took to social media again to say he had no issues with Love and blamed the media for making something out of nothing.

James has often glared at Love on the court this season and even barked at him following defensive breakdowns, but in fairness James has done that with quite a few teammates at various points.

Monday was Love’s turn to take a subtle jab at James when he chose someone besides his own teammate as league MVP.

Love has said multiple times this year all the attention on this team has been a bit of an adjustment for him. That includes having all of his comments parsed and dissected.

“We all know this is probably one of, if not the biggest stories in sports with LeBron James coming home,” Love said.