When LeBron James left for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2018 NBA free agency, most people expected the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade Kevin Love next and undergo a full-scale rebuild. However, the Cavaliers surprisingly chose to give Love a massive contract extension and name him the new face of the franchise. The Cavaliers’ first two seasons under Love’s leadership didn’t go well as they turned from a legitimate title contender in the Eastern Conference into one of the worst NBA teams in the league.
Despite suffering two disappointing years, the Cavaliers still continue to think that they made the right decision to keep Love on their roster. According to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cavaliers “don’t regret” giving Love a massive contract extension in the summer of 2018.
“It’s clear Cleveland’s view on Love doesn’t align with the rest of the league. That’s normal. The Cavs like him. They don’t regret the signing. They were expecting a monster season before his emotions intervened and 2019-20 went off the rails under John Beilein. But circumstances surrounding Love’s down year have changed and he’s set up to rebound. It could allow him to alter his trade value.”
Keeping Love for another season may really be the best option for the Cavaliers. Even if they decide to move on from Love in the 2020 NBA offseason and focus on the development of their young players, it would be hard for Cleveland to get what they want for the All-Star power forward. As Fedor noted, many around the league continue to “scoff at” the team’s asking price for Love, which is a trade package that includes a combination of draft picks and young, ascending players.
To increase his trade value, the Cavaliers superstar should establish a more consistent performance in the 2020-21 NBA season, prevent any major injury, and prove that he could help a title contender achieve their main goal. However, Cleveland may no longer see the need to find the All-Star power forward a new home. After two years of being a lottery team, the Cavaliers are reportedly planning to accelerate their rebuilding plans and try to compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference next season.
In order to boost their chances of challenging the best in the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers need an All-Star caliber player like Love. He may not be on the same level as James, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and James Harden, but if he manages to bring back the “Minnesota Love,” it’s not hard to see the Cavaliers ending their playoff drought in the 2020-21 NBA season.