Life is good here in Cleveland. The Browns can’t do anything to frustrate us for a while (although they’ll find a way). The Indians just made the cover of SI’s MLB Preview. And of course, the Cavaliers are destroying the competition one game at a time. A record of 46-26, more importantly 27-6 since the middle of January after GM David Griffin worked his magic to reassemble this great team.

A heavily scrutinized yet underrated member of the Cavaliers is stretch forward Kevin Love. He’s averaging 16.5 PPG and 10.1 RPG in his first season as a Cavalier.

Love’s contract situation is interesting, as he still does technically become a free agent at the end of the season since he was traded over from the Minnesota Timberwolves for rookie Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett + a first round pick. He would have the opportunity to sign with any other team if he chooses, albeit for a little less money or opt in to the Cavaliers for another year to set up free agency 2016 with the expanded cap room due to the updated TV agreement that will be in place.

So during the struggles of the beginning of this year (the 19-20 start) it was understandable why Love was the target of many. He was the scapegoat for the Cavs’ problems, and the attention to his contract situation was ever so present.

Amazingly, even with all the success the Cavaliers have had of late, Love is still taking the flak from the national media. Most recently, it’s for actually being honest. On the radio, Love openly admitted that he was not “best friends” with beloved star forward LeBron James, but their relationship was “evolving.” Additionally, he said that he believes Russell Westbrook should be the MVP.

Less noted, in every interview he continues to reestablish his longterm commitment to the Cavaliers. To the point where he seems annoyed that the question is asked over and over and over again.

The media has dissected these comments, sans the longterm commitment, in every possible way. Some citing that his relationship, or lack thereof, with James may be cause for concern in the future. Additionally, that his Westbrook prediction may be a shot at James too. All of this pointing to a quick exit out of Cleveland come July.

Can we leave the man alone?

First of all, teammates don’t have to be best friends in order to succeed. A perfect example of that would be Shaq and Kobe. Those two weren’t BFF’s off the court. They did their jobs living separate lives, and still have three titles to showcase.

There is absolutely no reason why James and Love have to be close. As long as the two don’t hinder the great chemistry of this team, it’s no problem. The two work really well together on the floor, through the blood, sweat and tears that comes with NBA action.

The Westbrook notion is ridiculous. The man practically averages a triple double, and is an absolute force on the floor for the OKC Thunder. Realistically, not many people are picking King James to win MVP. Why should K Love have to BS his true opinion just to get the approval of the media? It’s not like LBJ is the clear-cut winner.

And finally, his contract situation has always been a big topic. HELLO! We have a championship to win with this group of guys this season. I can 100% guarantee you Love will be in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform come post season, so focus on that instead of something that cannot happen until the year is completely over, hopefully as well celebrate a championship.

On the floor, his play hasn’t been like it was in Minnesota. However, that’s ok. LeBron and Kyrie run this team. Love does an AMAZING job spacing the floor, and you only really notice the difference when he isn’t in the lineup. As long as he can rebound the ball, hit his open shots and do work in the paint – we’re golden. He doesn’t have to average 26 and 12 like he did last year. There’s no chance with the extreme amount of talent on this team.

So give K Love a rest. Let the man play basketball. He’s an intricate part of this year’s team, so focus on the now. It’s going to be one hell of a playoff run, and Love will be on our side no matter what he says or doesn’t say.

Remember, Love never felt so good.

-Zach Shafron

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