It’s the summer of the Cavs.
The number one pick (seriously, how?), bringing back LeBron and now constant rumours of trading said pick. Speculation didn’t take long to heat up (pun intended) now that the King has returned home.
Obviously trade talks are on hold since the Cavaliers have recently signed their prized rookie Andrew Wiggins to his rookie NBA deal. Consequently, must now wait 30 days to move him. But that hasn’t stopped the recent trade debate.
Should the Cavaliers trade for Kevin Love? Absolutely they should and here’s why.
The Cavs window of opportunity to win is right now. The best player in the world is going to be 30 years old next season and in NBA terms, that’s not young. It’s borderline “old”, to be honest. LeBron is in his prime and if he wants to win, he needs the supporting cast to help him right now.
It’s one of the reasons why LeBron decided to leave the Miami Heat. Not only did he want to return home, but he also knew that he couldn’t win with the team he had in Miami.
With this current Cavs team, they’re more than capable of winning the Eastern Conference. But are they good enough to beat the best Western Conference team in a best of 7 series? I don’t think so.
So, if there is a player out there that can improve the Cavaliers to championship contention immediately that is also available in a trade, Kevin Love is that guy. Adding Kevin Love right now gives them a much more realistic chance to win in the NBA finals next season and may even be good enough to win depending on the matchup.
He’s one of the best big men in the NBA right now and a case could be made that he’s one of the league’s top players as well. Contrary to Wade and Bosh, he’s also just entering his prime, which is the kind of player that is needed in order for the Cavaliers to win.
Not only that, but as a stretch 4 he is the perfect fit next to LeBron and is just pretty much a better and younger version of Chris Bosh.
Love’s expiring contract next season may look quite worrisome, but Cavs fans need not to worry has there seems to be mutual interest in the Cavs and Love. So, while there is uncertainty with his known desire to play in a market like Los Angeles or New York, there’s really no reason why he wouldn’t resign long-term to play with LeBron on a contender.
While I will admit that his defense is suspect, or even non-existent, I don’t buy the constant knocks on Love that he just puts up big numbers on a bad team and that he isn’t a real winner.
First, Kevin Love is one the league leaders in several statistical categories. Not only are his basic per game stats great, but his advanced stats help back it up that he’s doing more than just putting up big numbers.
Consider some of these stats from last season, which are nothing to scoff at:
3rd in total WS
3rd in total OWS
3rd in PER
3rd in DRB%
9th in TRB%
6th in PTS/100POS
3rd in FTM
3th in AST% (amongst NBA Bigs)
8th in 3PM (what LeBron needs)
Second, look at the teams Kevin Love has played on. Then remember just how good the Western Conference has been for the last several years. As good as Kevin Love is, it’s simply too much to ask a player to single-handedly get a team to the playoffs, especially when the conference is about 10 playoff teams deep.
For example, look at the 9th seeded Phoenix Suns last season who missed the playoffs with 48 wins. With that said, the Wolves would easily be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. Considering the fact that the conferences are so lopsided right now, one should not make an assumption of Kevin Love’s inability to win. In fact, it’s actually more impressive that he even kept the Wolves in the playoff hunt.
Now moving on to the opposite side with regards to Wiggins, I can completely understand why the Cavs would hesitative to include him in any trade right now. If I was the General Manager of Cleveland, I’d try and do everything to keep him too.
He’s a first overall pick in what was believed to be a great draft for quite some time. He also hasn’t played a single game in the NBA yet, so we don’t really have an idea of how good he will be from day one.
But if I’m the General Manager of the Wolves, there is no other offer right now that can even compete with a package of Andrew Wiggins. They would be crazy not to make a deal to get the number one pick for a player that clearly wants to be traded anyways.
I’m a big fan of Wiggins and actually wanted the Raptors to get into the lottery to specifically try and get him. I believe that Wiggins is the real deal and has the potential to be a great player, not just because he’s Canadian.
However, we also must be realistic here. Wiggins is not going to help a championship team right now. Assuming that he does live up to his potential he’s still years away from reaching it and that doesn’t help the Cavaliers win right now.
If Wiggins was more of an NBA-ready product like his counter-part Jabari Parker, then I think you could make a legitimate case not to move him. But under these circumstances, the Cavs must make the move to put the pieces in place to win.
Don’t get me wrong. I would love (no pun intended) to see Wiggins morph into a superstar under LeBron’s tutelage. If there is any player who could get the most out of Wiggins to help him live to live up to his potential, LeBron would be the guy. That and the two-way player that Wiggins could become could be a huge asset playing next to LeBron for several years.
But LeBron did not go back to Cleveland to just sit around and wait no matter how good Wiggins can become. That’s not the fault of Wiggins, but when you have the best player in the game, you do whatever it takes to keep him from making “The Decision” 3.0, no matter how unlikely it is of him leaving again.
So, for what it’s worth, the time is now for the Cavs. They need to make a move to win right now even if the cost of doing so means giving up one or more of their young up and coming players.
Just like the Cavaliers slogan, all for one. Kevin Love.