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I like Kevin Love.
His campaign about mental health was very commendable and brave, especially talking about his own battle. However, when LeBron James decided to take his talents to Los Angeles, the Cavs’ chances of winning went with him and the championship quest was over. Oddly enough, shortly thereafter, the front office worked out a five-year, 113 million dollar contract extension with the power forward to stay in Cleveland.
Last year, Love averaged 17.6 points and 9.6 rebounds on 46% shooting (59 games played). In the playoffs, that went down to 14.9 points a game on 39% shooting.
The Cavs have played three games in this new era of basketball sans LeBron and they have lost all three. It appears like it is going to be a long season and the team may not even sniff the playoffs.
This is why the extension of Love is puzzling to me.
Out of the big three the Cavs used to have, it was Love that everyone thought was going to be traded before the other two and he’s ended up surviving the longest here. The problem is that Love will make the Cavs better and help them to win a few more games this season, but it won’t be enough to make any type of impact that could end up helping the team reach deep into the playoff.
Thus, tanking is exactly what this team needs to do. That way they can get an extremely high draft pick and help build for the future. It is unfortunate that the NBA works in this fashion, but that is how it functions.
Love was rewarded for his loyalty to Cleveland and that is why the team gave him the max contract. I do not see any way it can benefit the Cavs long term. Frankly, I would hope the team would consider trading him for a first round pick if the right offer comes along. After all, it is all about building a team for the future.