The Cleveland Cavaliers are in rebuild mode this season after losing LeBron James because the whole system revolved around him and it’s left a huge hole in their lineup. However, they were able to keep All-Star Kevin Love, signing him to a 4-year, $120M extension with The Cavs. But, was that the correct decision?
Kevin Love is a proven All-Star with elite rebounding, reliable 3-point shot, great post skills and playoff experience. Unfortunately, Love has had trouble staying healthy, missing 55 games over the past two seasons. He’s had multiple concussion issues and surgeries, making the chance of a consistent regular season unlikely.
Cleveland's No. 1 draft pick in 2019 belongs to the Atlanta Hawks unless the Cavs finish in the bottom 10 next season. So, why keep him?
According to the Eastern Conference Scout, Cavs can lose a lot this season:
"[Potentially losing the 2019 first-round pick] scares me right there. Ty Lue is going to try and win as much as he can, and Kevin Love's certainly not going to try to lose. If Collin Sexton is really good, I can see them losing that draft pick. When you're a bad team and you draft a bust, or [you act] like the Cavs here and possibly lose your pick, that sets you back two or three years.
"There's about seven guaranteed playoff teams already. Are they going to be better than Brooklyn and Atlanta? Yeah. Probably New York. Are they going to be better than Charlotte and Orlando? I don't know. I don't see [Cleveland] in the top eight. The only way they can get better is gut it and start over again. It's not an attractive place for a free agent."
With LeBron James gone to LA, Love has the freedom he needs to showcase his trade value. Being the first option in Minnesota, Love averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in the 2013-14 season. Although this was four years ago, we could see a likely increase in performance from Love this season.
With Kevin Love still in Cleveland, I doubt The Cavs will finish bottom 10 this season, so if they were to pursue Atlanta Hawks pick, it would make sense to trade Love for future draft picks to surround Collin Sexton and young core.
The Cavs are still a relatively good team. With Kevin Love, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr, Collin Sexton and other good role players, they could still make a strong case for one of the last playoff spots.
We are still unsure of what The Cavs plan is this year. Although it does make sense for them to tank for Atlanta’s No. 1 pick, they could still pull off a decent regular season. Free-agent forward Channing Frye has agreed to a one-year, $2.4 million deal to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, so is this a sign The Cavs aren’t ready to rebuild yet? Only time will tell.