Kevin Love: Chemistry upon return to Cavaliers won't pose problem

Love excited about new-look Cavs (2:10)

Kevin Love dishes on the Cavaliers' recent trades, developing chemistry with the new players, and what went wrong with Isaiah Thomas in Cleveland. (2:10)

LOS ANGELES -- Kevin Love says the Cavaliers have found "joy" again and that his return won't pose a problem with the team's newfound chemistry.

"We have a lot of selfless guys added, young guys who are playing extremely hard," Love said Friday in an appearance on ESPN's The Jump, a week removed from Cleveland's roster overhaul and with several weeks left in his recovery from a broken hand. "I think you've seen that in the last two games in wins over Boston and OKC. So we just continue to keep playing hard.

"I'll fit in when I come back -- and hopefully I'll have enough games to get my legs beneath me and get my rhythm back."

The Cavs entered this week's All-Star break on a four-game winning streak, two victories of which were spearheaded by their new lineup acquired in two deals last Thursday on the NBA's trade-deadline day. The Cavs have won each of their three games since the deals by an average of 15 points -- the last two against the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder. Each win also came on the road.

Coach Tyronn Lue has said the new roster was met with a welcome shift in energy for the Cavs and that the new personnel have helped in rediscovering an attacking mentality.

"It was nice to see everybody back on the floor having that joy back," Love said. "I think you saw that. George Hill started out the game and it was like he's been with us all along. He's a battle-tested guy, been through a number of playoff series, been through it being a savvy veteran. And then Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. -- I mean we just have a number of guys that come in make us younger, make us longer, and I think really add to our team.

"And it's going to take a few weeks. And you know, when I get back it's going to take another month for everybody to get adjusted and on the same page. But I like what we have."

Love said the Cavs ultimately had an identity problem they couldn't overcome.

"Finding an identity with our team -- we never found that," Love said. "And even with guys coming back from injury or inserting different guys into the lineup and finding different lineups that work together on the floor. We never quite found that. So we feel like the new players ... it's going to take a little bit of time. But hopefully as in years past -- you know, we've had a little bit of chaos every time the new year comes around; we thrive under chaos -- but we'll find a way to make it work once April rolls around and hopefully have a big run."

Love said he would be out of a brace that covers his left hand and lower arm within a week and was progressing as expected.

"Hopefully, I'll be back before the eight," Love said, referencing the six-to-eight-week window of his expected timetable for return. "But I'm excited to get back with this new team."

Love, who was chosen as an All-Star for the fifth time, broke his hand two weeks ago in a loss to the Pistons and won't play in Sunday's game. Love did not require surgery and has been undergoing rehabilitation.

"For me being my fourth year in Cleveland, I know exactly what the coaching staff wants from me, what Ty Lue wants from me. And then from a player's standpoint, LeBron leading the push for us -- what he wants from us out there on the floor."

Love said he didn't think the Cavs had "given up" on their pre-trade roster but that there was only so much time left to gel before the playoffs, with 26 games left after the All-Star break through mid-April.

"So we felt like we had enough time to get it right," Love said. "But as Koby Altman had mentioned after the trade was done, we were kind of having a slow death. It almost felt that way, where things weren't going the way they could have. And to get new faces, new fresh air in there and to have good faces in the locker room was good for us."

Much of the Cavs' locker room frustrations leading to the trade were voiced by point guard Isaiah Thomas, who was sent in a trade with Channing Frye to the Los Angeles Lakers for Clarkson and Nance. The Lakers also get the Cavs' 2018 first-round draft pick. Thomas was acquired in an equally ballyhooed deal with the Boston Celtics for Kyrie Irving in August. Thomas then required several more months of recovery from a hip injury before making his debut with the Cavs.

Love compared Thomas' addition in Cleveland to his own return after missing most of the 2015 playoffs in his first season with the Cavs. Love dislocated a shoulder in a first-round series against the Celtics.

"It's tough coming off an injury like that," Love said. "For me, I came off shoulder surgery ... having to miss six or eight months with that is so tough to come back from. I think when you lose some of that explosiveness at his size, and being a guy that's used to having the ball in his hands so much, it's tough to come in and try to make a huge impact right away. And I think he wanted to be so great so fast."

Love said he didn't think the Cavs had "too much of a problem" with Thomas' actions and talk off the court.

"Whether someone was talking in the locker room or bringing up things we wanted to get better with -- with our team -- winning was going to solve all that," Love said. "And when guys like myself, or Bron or Isaiah -- guys we felt were leaders of the team -- were coming in and not performing like they could have off an injury or trying to mix in with the team, we felt like that was something that we had to show in our play.

"And it was tough; I feel for Isaiah," Love continued. "I've known him since we were youngsters. We played on different AAU teams. ... So I wish him the best. It was just tough for a number of guys to be there and to fit with us. But I feel like we cleared the air."