The Big 3 in Cleveland was pretty much a wrap once Kevin Durant signed to Golden State in 2016. After Kyrie’s dramatic departure and then LeBron leaving in Free Agency the year after, the keys were handed to All-Star Kevin Love to get the team back on the right track after four consecutive Finals appearances.
Last season was Love’s turn to be the leader of the team. With new additions to the team as in Collin Sexton and others, along with a coaching change in firing Tyronn Lue, Love was expected to use his experience to help with the young guys understand what it takes to be a great player in this game. The problem only is Love the right leader for this Cavs organization? Many people like myself believe it may be time for the big man to begin a new leaf elsewhere and be apart of a championship squad instead.
Let’s admit, Love’s game has really changed over the past decade; and it has been in both a good and bad way for him. During his time playing for a garbage Minnesota franchise, Love was a dominant force inside attacking bigs in the paint with his size and strength. Love was having 20-20 games and was recognized as one of the best Power Forwards in basketball. Around 2014, big men began to become more comfortable behind the three point line to stretch the floor out. Love was always a great three point shooter during the beginning of his career, but once big men shooting threes was a regular thing it’s safe to say that he may have overused the three point line to his extent.
When Love began playing for the Cavaliers, you could see how he used the three point line more often than anything else. Since his first season in 2014-2015, he has averaged a total of 6 three pointers a game with his 11.5 field goals attempted overall. It’s great that he has the ability to stretch the floor with his ability to shoot from anywhere on the floor, but Love has seemed to shy away from dominating down low in the painted area. His rebound number has gone down drastically as well because of that and he has really sacrificed his game to a big degree since playing in Cleveland.
Most people blame LeBron for the change in Love’s game. With LBJ being so dynamic as an NBA player, some believe that it was best for Love to stand out of the way of LeBron and let him go to work offensively. Unfortunately for Love, it took away his dominance as a big and he got too comfortable with his new role of being a spot up shooter. And whenever he were to be aggressive inside, it looked very awkward as most times he would shoot a little floater over defenders instead of attacking with a ferocious dunk.
Although Love’s game has transpired in a positive and negative way (in my opinion), there is no question that he can still produce for a championship contender. Love has made it clear that he is unhappy playing in Cleveland and deserves to be put in a different position where he can use his talent in a positive way.
It would seem easy for Love to be traded quickly, but the question is will a team want to pick up his contract until 2023. Love is expected to make $120 million for the next three years and to some GM’s that may be too much for a guy at his age. His age may be what’s really the scare for other teams as they want to know will he be able to produce what they want him to making that kind of money. That is the answer Love will need to answer and a decision that a team will need to take a chance on.
One franchise that could possibly use Love on their roster is the Portland Trailblazers. With the absence of big men in Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic, Love would possibly be a great acquisition to the Blazers lineup. Many believe that Love’s game can benefit well with Lillard, McCollum, and Anthony as far as offense and possibly Terry Stotts could use him around the rim in defense rotations to be a factor down low against big men.
Another key team that could use Love can be the Brooklyn Nets. Yes, they do have a phenomenal big man in Jarrett Allen. But with Love’s size and talent, he could fit well in the Brooklyn rotation and could possibly reunite with former teammate Kyrie Irving. Love would be a great asset to the Nets with his size and ability to spread the floor out and keep the ball moving. Once both Kyrie and KD return to the floor, and players like Spencer Dinwiddie continue to develop into a great go to player, the Brooklyn Nets would be a great contender in the East with love in the mix of the chemistry.
With Love being at 31 years of age, it’s time that he starts a new adventure with a new franchise. It would be great if he could continue to guide the young fellas in Cleveland, but with Love’s rocky relationship with the Cavs Front Office, its time for him to go. Hopefully by the trade deadline or even by the end of this season, Love will officially be gone from Cleveland and starting his new chapter on a new team he calls home.