Now that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are gone, Kevin Love has turned from being the Cleveland Cavaliers’ third scoring option to their main guy. After giving Love a massive contract extension, the Cavaliers officially made the All-Star power forward the new face of the franchise. Despite losing hometown hero LeBron James in free agency, the Cavaliers made it clear that they have no intention of undertaking a full-scale rebuild.
The decision to give Kevin Love a lucrative contract showed that the Cavaliers are still aiming to defend their title and rule the Eastern Conference for the next couple of years. Unfortunately, without LeBron James, fully dominating the Eastern Conference is like a punch to the moon for the Love-led Cavs. Most Cleveland fans are expecting to see the Love that served as the main man for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In his last season with the Timberwolves, Kevin Love averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 4.4 assists on 45.7 percent shooting from the field and 37.6 percent from beyond the arc. However, bringing back the “Minnesota Kevin Love” won’t be easy, especially after the All-Star power forward spent the last four seasons as the third wheel for LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. At this point in his career, Love will be better off as a sidekick than a team’s No. 1 option, according to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report.
“Love’s lack of athleticism has hurt him as the Association has shifted further out to the perimeter. He’s retained some value as a spot-up sniper (41.5 percent outside last season), but that role only works if someone else is spoon-feeding him shots. Deploy him as a pick-and-pop sidekick, and he can be an asset; ask him to lead your offense in 2018-19, and he’s sure to come up short.”
As of now, even Kevin Love must be aware that the Cavaliers will be needing a miracle to win another NBA championship with their current roster. In the ESPN summer forecast, the Cavaliers are only expected to finish as the No. 11 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 31-51 win-loss record. With the emergence of numerous “Super Teams,” it would be best for Love to be traded to a legitimate playoff contender where he can play alongside other NBA superstars once again.
The Cavaliers’ decision to give Kevin Love a contract extension doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s untouchable. Putting him under control for the next couple of years makes him a more valuable trade asset for the Cavaliers. If things don’t go as expected, Love could end up being on the trading block before the February NBA trade deadline.