The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a strange situation.
For the last 3 years, they've dominated the Eastern Conference behind the might of their "Big Three." Kyrie Irving and LeBron James formed an insane combo that proved nearly unstoppable to stop. Together, the two ran the Cavs as well as anyone would.
But in the mix of it all, there was Kevin Love, a forgotten superstar unwanted by the team, the organization, and the fans themselves. From the beginning, there were signs he would never fit in.
Like that time the Cavs took a group photo, and Kevin Love was noticeably absent. Or all the times his name has popped up in trade rumors around the NBA. To be blunt, the Cavs were never really a "Big Three." The way they treated him, and the way he performed, it was more like a "Big Two and A Half."
Fast forward to today, and things are much different. Kyrie Irving is gone, the GM that kept things together is gone, and the Cavaliers are a mess of dysfunction and chaos. Now, the threat of LeBron leaving is higher than it has ever been, and the chances of them making another Finals run are lower than they've ever been.
Now, the guy the Cavs pushed to the side all these years may be the only one who can save them from their sorrow. Shockingly, Kevin Love may the Cavs' only hope.
But that's exactly how life works. It sometimes takes the unlikeliest of scenarios and makes it a reality. And for the Cleveland Cavaliers, that reality is something nobody saw coming.
When the Cavs originally traded for Love, he was a much different player. Back in Minnesota, Kevin Love would average 25 and 10 easy, on any given night. He could shoot, rebound, and score from the post. He was a top big man in the league, a true superstar athlete.
On the Cavs, however, he became an afterthought. Plays were rarely called for him, credit was rarely given to him, and most never let his name utter out of their mouth. Love quickly grew accustomed to that role, and he fell into the shadow of King James and Uncle Drew.
Fast forward to today, with Kyrie Irving wearing a different jersey, and LeBron James already leaning halfway out of the door, and we find that it's ironically up to Love to keep it all from falling apart. Think about it...
If Kevin Love is still the same old player he's been for years, what incentive does LeBron have to stay in town? What incentive do other superstars have to then choose to sign with the Cavaliers? With Irving gone, K-Love will need to take on a much bigger role if he wants to give his team to even compete this year.
But if the former All-Star plays like he used to back in Minnesota, LeBron may be a little more hesitant to leave. The Cavs would have the "Robin" to James' "Batman," and the team would be able to build on that momentum going forward. Who knows, maybe a dominant Kevin/LeBron duo would be enough to attract a third superstar to town.
Kevin is that vital piece. If he fails to resurrect the star power we know he has, the Cleveland Cavaliers could fall into a downward spiral.
Before all the whispers, before all the rumors, before all the criticising, before all the mocking, Kevin Love was an unquestioned superstar at the top of the world. Being in Cleveland changed him, where his talents went unappreciated and he was forced to take a backseat to players who probably weren't too keen on having him there in the first place.
Now that same guy could be the only one to keep the team alive after a summer of misery.
Funny how life works that way, isn't it?