Trusting and believing in Kevin Love

Kyrie LeBron Love Cavs Photoshop

The Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly agreed to send two former No. 1 overall picks and a protected, future first-rounder for one guaranteed year of the best power forward in the NBA along with his word that he will re-up for five more years next summer. In the deal, Minnesota gets Andrew Wiggins, a much hyped and once thought of as a LeBronesque rookie, along with an in-shape and a steady breathing Anthony Bennett. Throw in a future Heat first-round pick and Flip Saunders and the T-Wolves faithful got a sizable haul compared to superstar trades of years past.1 Still, despite Minnesota inheriting some hope for the future, the value which the T-Wolves got back is nowhere close to comparable to what Cleveland brings in with Love. Love’s numbers and skills speak for themselves, but the most intriguing piece of this deal—one that won’t be measured until next summer—is Kevin Love’s word.There’s no doubt Kevin Love will hit free agency next summer, allowing himself and his agent the biggest pay day possible, but Cleveland fans should take comfort in the reports Love and the Cavs have an agreement for the 25-year old to remain in the Wine and Gold for the foreseeable future.

The only problem with that whole comfort thing is Cleveland’s past. Cleveland fans have some trust issues. Cleveland is the fan base who had their football team ripped out of their city; where their star slugger, Jim Thome, bolted the place he said he wanted to spend his whole career for an extra year and a few more dollars with the Phillies; and don’t forget LeBron’s first running mate, Carlos Boozer, jetting off to Utah after telling the team he’d resign at the end of the year. Oh yeah, and the best basketball player on the planet ditched Cleveland on national TV in the summer of 2010.

With all that history, and me falling into the somewhat cynical hipster trend these days, questions regarding Love’s “word” start screaming through my head.

What if LeBron or Kyrie gets Paul George’d? Are we certain Love won’t see some greener pastures somewhere else along the NBA landscape and leave town?

What if Love falls for an actress, model, or pop star and decides his relationship and living on the West Coast is more important than playing with LeBron?

What if Kevin Durant gets hurt, OKC trades Westbrook to Phoenix, the Thunder tank, and the Suns to make a play at reuniting Westbrook and Love in a Western market?

These scenarios are preposterous and highly unlikely, but do any seem much more far-fetched than the Cavs ending up with LeBron, Love, and Kyrie back in late May? At that time we were talking about whether or not Kyrie would turn down a max deal and whether or not Dougie “McBuckets” McDermott would be a good fit late in the lottery.

[Related: Video: What will the Cavs offense look like with Kyrie, Love and LeBron?]

The NBA, unlike any other league is shaped by its star players. If one star has a change of heart, demands out of one situation, and into another it can have a ripple effect.

In the summer of 2012 James Harden was a key cog in the future Thunder dynasty, coming off his role as “LeBron stopper” in the 2012 Finals and Dwight Howard was forming a super team in L.A. Over the next few months the Thunder and Harden couldn’t agree on an extension, OKC traded Harden to the Rockets, the Lakers fell apart under the guidance of Mike Brown, and by the end of the summer of 2013 Harden and Howard were teammates in Houston.

I like to think that kind of unpredictability won’t happen this time around for Cleveland. I like to think Love giving his word to LeBron and the Cavs is different and that it is binding. I like to think LeBron James carries so much clout, and has enough respect around the league that you don’t dare cross him. If Michael Jordan is the Godfather of the NBA then LeBron James is Sonny Corleone. No one would even consider crossing Sonny Corleone. That is, until he pulled up to that New Jersey toll booth and was peppered to death by an onslaught of tommy guns.

Over time, in both life and the NBA, stuff happens. You can’t predict it. Will Kevin Love honor his word and re-sign with the Cavs after becoming a free agent? Most likely. But at the end of the day every man will do what’s best for him and those he loves. It appears the odds are strongly in the favor of the Cavaliers getting Love’s signature next summer, but until there is a signed document in the offices of Adam Silver it’s impossible not to have your guard up a little.

Being cautious to trust Kevin Love is smart to me, but being terrified to trust Kevin Love will be suffocating. In a matter of a few short weeks Cleveland landed two of the best players on the planet, and it feels damn good. It’s time to once again put our faith in something with the logic being that this can’t happen to us again. Perhaps something crazy happens and the Cavs don’t have Kevin Love in their frontcourt come the fall of 2015, but when the ball tips off this Halloween, Love will be there. And when the Cavs push for a title in the summer of 2015, Love will be there.

To paraphrase the English poet, Lord Aflred Tennyson, “Tis better to have Love and lost then to never have Love at all.”

Photoshop courtesy of Bleacher Report

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Footnotes:

  1. The best of recent history is the Nuggets sending Carmelo Anthony to New York in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and a future first rounder which ended up being the eleventh pick in the 2014 draft. Over the next three full seasons the Nuggets would win four more games than the Knicks. []
  • Pat Leonard
  • mgbode

    What if Love falls for an actress, model, or pop star and decides his relationship and living on the West Coast is more important than playing with LeBron?

    Kevin Love has been in a serious relationship with Cody Horn (The Office) for quite some time.

  • mgbode

    Tis better to have Love and lost then to never have Love at all.

    But, that statement isn’t true (philosophically IMO as the pain from losing love can prevent you from future love if you are not careful) and is particularly not true in this case. There is a tangible opportunity cost of Wiggins/Bennett/1st rounder and their cheaper locked-in contracts.

    All that said:

    I agree that it does not do much good stressing about July 2015 in August 2014.
    I agree that it seems likely we will get that contract to which Love agreed (though it seems illegal per NBA rules to have such a handshake agreement).
    I agree that the Cavs will have an incredibly talented team this upcoming season.

  • cmm13
  • Ezzie Goldish

    “Throw in a future Heat first-round pick”

    I would hope the Cavs would be giving their own first-round pick and not the Heat one.

  • http://www.eclecticworld.org/ Jim Macdonald

    They cannot trade their own draft pick this comng year by league rules because they would have traded away this year’s first round draft pick. You can thank former Cavs owner Ted Stepien for that addition to the byzantine rules governing NBA maneuverings.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Ah, good call. I thought you merely had to have A first round pick.

  • http://www.eclecticworld.org/ Jim Macdonald

    Though, not meaning to contradict myself, since Wiggins was signed when traded, I’m not sure that applies – but I remember distinctly hearing the Cavs would not be allowed to trade their own 2015 pick.

  • WFNYJones

    Ahhh thanks MG. It hurts I didn’t already know this. Still, as Chris Rock once said, “a man is only as faithful as his options”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ShI4DKBdyw

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Oooooo-la-la first Joanna Garcia Swisher and now this lovely. Cleveland is indeed the Hollywood of the Midwest!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    THAT’S WHAT I BEEN TALKIN’ ‘BOUT WILLIS!

  • RGB
  • mgbode

    No problem. Actually don’t know if she wants to push for Love to move to LA or not as she lives/works there. But, obviously not enough right now to stop him from making a handshake promise.

  • Pat Leonard

    Good stuff. Brian Windhorst said today that those sort of wink-wink agreements happen all of the time in the NBA, even if they are really against NBA rules. I wasn’t terribly surprised to hear that.

  • humboldt

    I must have stopped watching the show by the time she joined the cast. It really fell apart quickly after Michael’s character left (though honestly it felt like it was unraveling a season or two before that).

    Anyhow, if Love/Horn don’t work out we could always contrive a meeting between him and Halle Berry as a last resort. Since “I’m Coming Home” is the in-thing right now, we might be able to persuade her back to Bedford!

  • mgbode

    I’m not surprised they happen, but I’m a bit surprised how widely reported this one has been. You’d think the Cavs FO would be none too happy about it.

  • Harv 21

    As Robert Kraft has said about acquiring Belichik for a first rounder and building the Patriots, to be great you have to take some risks. Gilbert and Griffin had to assess the risks without Cleveland angst: might the historically sturdy LeBron tear an achilles in his prime? How well do all the principals know and trust Kevin Love – is his reputation more important to him than getting out of a situation that suddenly no longer appears the best possible option?

    Assuming the G & G did their homework, and with LeBron knowing the guy a little too – I’m more than fine with this “risk.” Gund had no reason to release Boozer from his contract early, but the Cavs have every necessity to do this now. If it somehow goes south it doesn’t mean this was not the right move. Turn it around: imagine Griffin refusing to give up Wiggins without a new contract signed right now. Imagine if Griffin didn’t want to hear about the upcoming new TV deal and additional cap space. And Love signs elsewhere. This would become the new signature FO boner in the entire history of Woe is Me.

  • Pat Leonard

    Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense for someone to leak that information… maybe to put the public’s collective mind at ease, but you’d hate for the NBA to go sniffing around trying to find a reason to toot their collusion horns.

  • cmm13
  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It’s just refreshing to see an organization go all in finally with the only intention being winning a championship. I’ve grown sick and tired of being sick and tired of watching one Cleveland team after team “building” towards nothing. The Browns stack bricks 5 feet high only to watch the first foot fall apart year after year. The Indians are like the little engine that could even when the little engine finally makes it to the top of the hill (last years 1 game playoff) after years it has nothing left and comes crashing back only to start all over again.

    I’m not a Gilbert fan and never will be but compared to the other pro sports owners in Cleveland the guy deserves his due. He’s made more then a few mistakes including that moronic comic sans letter but hasn’t given up. He knew and saw enough to know that four straight years in the lottery wasn’t cutting it and sucked it up met with LBJ and did what was best for business. Gilbert, the Cavaliers and James will all come out ahead in the end and if Clevelanders native or otherwise can hitch a ride then lest buckle up and get to to work!

    CHOO-CHOO NOT SHIN-SOO EITHER!!!

    http://www.youthareawesome.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/booklilenginesm1.jpg

  • The_Real_Shamrock
  • The Other Tim

    I really comforted by the fact that LeBron and Love have played together before.This isn’t a gamble of throwing stars together and hoping they mesh. LeBron knows what he’s getting.