Before the 2014-2015 NBA season began, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves agreed on a blockbuster trade which sent superstar forward Kevin Love to the Cavs in exchange for two former 1st overall picks—Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett—and Thaddeus Young. If it weren’t for LeBron James’s decision to return to Cleveland, this trade would have been the Blockbuster of the offseason.
The Cavs really got an amazing deal on this one: Wiggins was the 1st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, so there was no guarantee he would be great. Bennett, the 1st pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, was pitiful in his season with the Cavaliers, managing only 4.2 points per game.
Kevin Love on the other hand is an established All-Star. Love averages a double-double for his career, and he finished the 2013-2014 season with 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. The only thing holding Love back before was his team, as Minnesota isn’t exactly the best road to the NBA Finals.
Since arriving in Cleveland, Love has received much the same treatment Chris Bosh did during his first season with the Miami Heat—people harp on one or two bad games while ignoring the large positive effect that he has had on the team as a whole. Love is a fantastic shooter, scorer, and rebounder. His 16.5 points and 10 rebounds per game this season cannot be ignored. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider that he has been sharing the court with LeBron James.
Nonetheless, Love is not used to all the negative publicity. In Minnesota, he was the go-to guy and the only true superstar on the roster. Now, there are multiple reports coming out of Cleveland that Love “doesn’t fit in” or “doesn’t like LeBron.” Love’s recent comment that Russell Westbrook should win MVP this season only worsened the media onslaught.
“What people don’t understand is that this is not a place that requires you to be best friends,” said Cavaliers center Kendrick Perkins when asked about the ‘beef’ between Love and LeBron. “I think sometimes people don’t realize that this is work for us. So when you go to work every day, that doesn’t mean your co-worker has to be your best friend. This is our job. You don’t have to be best friends to come out here and work together.”
“I turn on ESPN and I see ‘No Love for K-Love,’ or something like that, and it’s kind of silly to me,” continued Perkins. “I haven’t seen anything to the point that it’s drama…I don’t think Ray and KG were best buddies in Boston. I was best friends with Rondo. I hung out with KG a little bit, but I wasn’t best friends with him.”
I mean come on, people. Even Shaq and Kobe won three championships in a row together, and I know Love and LeBron aren’t nearly that bad. Of course, LeBron is involved; so the sports media has to blow this whole thing out of proportion.
Now we have to deal with the multiple rumors circulating around. Although Love has made it clear that he will not opt-out of his contract and will be with the Cavs come the 2015-2016 NBA season, people like to speculate about where he will land if he does leave. Right now, the leading candidate (behind the Cavaliers, of course) seems to be the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, there are multiple reports that Love and his MVP-candidate and former UCLA teammate, Russell Westbrook, will team up in La next season.
When asked if winning a title would affect where he plays basketball next season, Kevin Love kept the answer concise: “I plan on being a Cavalier either way.”
Stop blowing things out of proportion. Just appreciate the greatness that Love brings to the court night after night.