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Is Kevin Love Enough For Cleveland Cavaliers?

By Erik Lambert

Mar 16, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) dribbles in the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings forward Quincy Acy (5) at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

One must always ask if the price tag is worth it in a blockbuster trade.  Are the Cleveland Cavaliers getting enough back if they do deal for Kevin Love?

LeBron James will have firepower in Love and Kyrie Irving

There is no question a win-now mentality is enveloping the Cleveland Cavaliers.  They have the best player in the world back in LeBron James and with him loads of championship pedigree.  With him turning 30-years old in December, the time has come for them to sell off every asset they have to make their roster a formidable as possible.  That is why they plan to sell off their two previous first round picks in Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett along with another one or two picks in 2015 for the rights to All-Star forward Kevin Love.  On paper, his arrival would give the team a three-headed offensive juggernaut with James, Love and Kyrie Irving.  Collectively they averaged 73 points per game in 2013-2014.  Who wouldn’t want to create that sort of firepower?

He will also have zero NBA playoff experience and limited defense

At the same time there are drawbacks to the decision.  Among the most challenging, especially for James, will be the massive absence of playoff experience he’ll have around him.  When he joined the Miami Heat in 2010 he was joining an organization rich from the top down in postseason familiarity.  Team president Pat Riley is a former Hall of Fame coach who won six championships.  Dwyane Wade was Finals MVP in 2006 when the Heat won their first title.  Even fellow Big Three member Chris Bosh played in May a couple of seasons with Toronto.  Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have not played a single playoff game combined in their careers.

The other issue will be defense.  Scoring points is great for the highlight reels but it won’t matter unless a team can also stop the opponent from scoring.  Last season the Cleveland Cavaliers ranked 16th in points allowed per game.  James should be able to help with that but not much.  Love meanwhile will help even less.  For all his shooting and rebound skill, the 25-year old is middle of the pack at best on defense.  He’s also injury-prone at times.

There is no question this Kevin Love trade is as boom-bust as it gets.  His addition could elevate them to NBA champions, but it also could blow up in their faces.  That is a major gamble to take.