Source: TNT

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It’s been a tough four-year stretch for Kevin Love in Cleveland. Certainly, Cavs fans being unappreciative monsters is not the objective of this article, but let’s be honest, prior to this season it seemed as if the public perception was that most Cavs fans hated him and it’s really absurd.

Sure, Love never put up the averages he achieved during his time with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but did fans forget that he went from being the team’s first option to being the third option (at best) in the starting lineup? Love struggled mightily at times during his first season in Cleveland, but he never gave up and the proper adjustments were made to bring out his strengths in this offense.

Over the past four seasons with the Cavs, Love has averaged 19.7 PPG and 11.5 RPG while shooting almost 40% from the perimeter as either the second or third option on a team with championship aspirations and expectations. Even as the third option, Love averaged 22.2 PPG and 12.3 with .392 3P% per 36 minutes. Truly, you cannot ask for much more than that and let’s not forget that Love was also an All-Star for the fourth and fifth time in his career during the past four seasons.

Wait, is that Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade back in 2014 still in question? Wiggins is a good player, but even Wiggins’ own teammate, Jimmy Butler, has questioned his heart and how bad he wants to be a good player since the day he got there. Wiggins isn’t even the best player on his own team and he hasn’t been since his rookie season. Any smart NBA fan could look at that trade and realize it worked out for both teams in the short-term and long-term.

Yet, Cavs fans and others alike were quick to dismiss Love as a key contributor to these Cavs teams.

Well, in 2018, Cleveland has no choice but to love Kevin Love. While you will continue to form your own opinions, it is clear that, at least for the time being, Love is our best chance at being a decently good team at best. Since fans wanted so bad for Love to continue his dominance while in a T-Wolves uniform, they will have their chance starting this week.

Love will return to being his team’s number one option and the Cavs no longer have a championship-or-bust mentality, meaning from top to bottom the team can play freely without the nightly stresses and distractions of being in the national spotlight.

In the final four seasons of Love’s career in Minnesota, he posted averages of 23.5 PPG and 13.7 RPG while playing with a guy that delayed his NBA debut and didn’t shoot three-pointers as his second-best player. Now, Love has the chance to play with a better top-10 pick and two 15+ PPG scorers from last season, who’s to say that Love won’t repeat this dominance and maybe even improve upon it?

While my esteemed colleague Max Meyerson, and others, think Kevin Love sucks. I think Love has shown over the years that, well, he doesn’t. He accepted a role as the number three option and put up 17 PPG behind two scorers and 10 RPG behind another above-average rebounder and re-signed to stay with the Cavaliers two times now.

More noteworthy stats include Love improving upon his eFG% (.494 in MIN, .516 in CLE), 3P% by almost two percent and his FT% (.815 in MIN, .842 in CLE). If you think Cleveland Kevin Love sucks, then you must think that Minnesota Kevin Love was abysmal; he only appeared in three All-Star games and had three 20 PPG seasons.

With the Cavs former leader departing for the second time, Love has dedicated himself to this team, it’s fans and this city for a second time.

It’s time for Cleveland to reciprocate this gesture, put its collective arms around Love and finally embrace the man that has had nothing but love for this city when, even now, most people who weren’t born or raised here wouldn’t.