Does Cleveland need to feel the Love?

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

Matt's Take:

Are the Cavaliers feeling the Love?

Kevin Love has missed the better part of the playoffs, and will miss the NBA Finals which start Thursday, with a dislocated shoulder.

Since the injury, the Cavs have been playing impressive ball and Tristian Thompson has been a beast on the offensive and defensive boards. Thompson has more than filled the gap left from Love's injury.

Is Love replaceable in Cleveland? The simple answer is yes and no.

You see, Love hasn't really meshed well in the Cavs lineup this season and he spent plenty of time as a glorified role player.

The UCLA product can opt out of his current contract at the end of the season and become a free agent. You've probably heard the whispers.

But, Love has reassured the local Cleveland media that he fully intends to be in the starting lineup to begin next season.

There are plenty of reasons for Love to stay in Cleveland though, and they are mostly monetary. See, he can sign a max contract with the Cavs for a hefty chunk of change more than he could another team due to NBA rules.

But, it may be time for the All Star to take his talents somewhere else. Like I said, he hasn't really meshed well in Cleveland's offense and he seems to be a little whiney when he's not included in activities with his teammates.

Don't get me wrong, the Cavs are definitely a better team with Love on the roster. But LeBron James might also be willing to see Love walk, especially if the Miami Heat can't come to terms with James' old running mate, Dwyane Wade.

Just a thought.

Andrew’s Take:

How long until the Cavaliers are officially renamed? The “Cleveland LeBrons” might actually work.

This isn’t how Kevin Love imagined his “winning” of a championship ring. All those years in basketball purgatory (Minnesota) and then this, a season-ending injury and LeBron James is playing the best basketball of his career.

The Cavs haven’t won anything yet, or ever. I still think the Golden State Warriors are about to hoist a championship trophy, as I’ve predicted for the entire season. (Seriously, check my predictions.) But, LeBron & Co. still have a very good chance.

Before this season, you could have argued that the Cavaliers’ roster included three of basketball’s five best players. (James, Love and Kyrie Irving.) But now, it’s clear that James doesn’t need anyone. If he is at the top of his game, he is going to win a championship, and you can’t say that about anyone else in the game.

No matter what, Love’s reputation will be hurt by the NBA Finals. Before this season, his two most probable destinations where Cleveland and Golden State, and whichever team wins will prove they can do so without Love.

Now he faces two possible futures. One, leave Cleveland for another market where he is the best player, and never win. Or two, stay on Lake Erie and (probably) win a championship as one of the better players, but living with the reputation of “couldn’t do it without LeBron.”

Kevin Love seems like a smart guy. When he said that he expects “to be suiting up by Game 1 of next year,” for the Cavs, he probably came to the same conclusions as me.

When/if Love receives a championship ring for this season, though; he should just toss it into the crowd.

Is it Thursday yet? This basketball playoff gap is doing wonders for my lack-of-football depression, as well as my baseball devotion.