The Cleveland Cavaliers came agonizingly close to win Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. However, a late-run from the Dubs led by Kevin Durant changed everything, and the Warriors are now one win away from sweeping the NBA Finals and going undefeated in the NBA Playoffs. And the Cavaliers need to do something about it – maybe it’s loo late for this season, but they need to change if they want to contend with Golden State as soon as next year.
Their first move should be to move on from Kevin Love. Yes, you read that title correctly. And no, I’m not crazy. I’m not a heartbroken Cavaliers fan either.
There are a few reasons why the Cavs would be wise to move on from Love. And before you think about it, none of them relate to his play during the postseason. If anything, this year we’ve seen the best version of Love since he arrived to Cleveland. He averaged 19 points and 11.1 rebounds per game durng the regular season. That’s close to what he did with the Minnesota Timberwolves prior to the trade. So in a way, we could say the Cavs finally got the player they traded for …. only three years later.
Things are worst than his recent play, or a reaction to the Cavs likely being swept on the Finals. It’s a matter of how Love fits in the Cavaliers’ offense. He might be a sharp shooter who also contributes with rebounds, but we should see more from the third-best player on a contending team. Despite averaging 17.1 points during the current playoffs, Love generally looks lost out there. And things were even worse the past two seasons.
If we think about it, the NBA constantly evolves into a more athletic league. And while Love is agile for his size, he’s not an athletic freak such as, for example, Kyrie Irving or LeBron James. Based on the league’s direction, there’s no question the Cavaliers would be far more dangerous with someone like Paul George or Jimmy Butler next to Irving. Even Andrew Wiggins would look like a better fit – but we know Minnesota is not doing that trade again.
Love would be appealing for several teams. He works hard, and can lead the offense on any given day. However, he doesn’t look comfortable on Tyronn Lue’s system. He might never be comfortable as a third-option kind of player, and that could affect both his confidence and his performance. He’s talented enough to be the top option on a playoff team, so Cleveland needs to act quickly. Love’s value since his arrival to Cleveland has never been higher, so they should exploit that as well.
Cleveland’s GM David Griffin needs to be wise right now. The arrival of Durant to the Warriors changed the landscape of the league, and he must accept his Big Three is not good enough anymore. He needs to act quickly. And since James and Irving are not going anywhere, Love will surely become the odd man out. With his value getting higher and a plethora of players available via trade, now it’s the time to trade Love.
Otherwise, it might be too late and the Cavs would have to settle as the second-best team in the league. A label James doesn’t want to carry anymore.