With the last of the top-tier players settling into their new homes, questions concerning Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love have already begun to surface. Teams that consider themselves to be a piece away, including teams that missed out on the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and to a lesser extent, Jimmy Butler, will inquire about the All-Star forward with the hopes of adding a 20/10 guy to their roster. Entering his extension at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, Kevin has openly expressed his desire to remain in the Wine & Gold uniform and unless he specifically states his desires have changed, I don’t believe it would be in the best interest of the young core that the Cavaliers are building.
Unlike many players, especially veterans, Kevin Love has seen both sides of the spectrum. He’s been on 20 win teams. Teams where no matter how much he stuffed the stat sheets or how many All-Star appearances he made, his team just wasn’t good; his contributions simply weren’t enough. On the other hand, he was a vital part in the Cavaliers’ run that saw them reach the finals four years straight, winning in 2016 and they could have potentially won the year prior had he and former teammate Kyrie Irving not been injured. When people speak of that 2016 Championship, which saw them come back from a 3-1 deficit, the first time in finals history, they speak of The Shot, The Block, The Stop; the latter coming from Kevin Love locking down Stephen Curry.
In this post-LeBron era, a youth movement if you will, this team needs all the veteran leadership possible and who better than Kevin? He’s seen the good, the bad and everything in between. He’s been the best player on a team and the third option. He’s had enormous games and came up small in moments where he needed to be clutch. Any experience won’t due. You can’t throw any vet on this team (or any team with young talent) and expect them to be able to gather and lead the troops. Given what he’s accomplished and gone through throughout his career, he’s one of the most suited individuals to teach this young core.
While Delly was a part of that winning team, he was never an intricate part of the system. You didn’t expect to see him shine in big moments. Knowing how to deal with the pressures of not only winning but losing, will be a great service to this new core.
Again, if Kevin decides he wants to walk away from a franchise who’s rebuilding, that’s completely understandable and his demands should be met considering what he’s done to this franchise and how, out of the big three, he was the one who chose to stay put. Similar to what the Oklahoma City Thunder did with their former point guard Russell Westbrook. But until he demands a trade, the Cleveland Cavaliers should focus on allowing him to lead. Allowing him to show the young players the ropes. Who better to lead a team than someone who’s been where they’ve been and gone where they hope to go someday? And that’s not even considering that, when healthy, he can still contribute on the court.