The drama that has surrounded and sometimes suffocated the Cleveland Cavaliers is gone now that Lebron James has moved on.
But the Cavaliers’ relentless pursuit of success has never wavered. Yesterday, the Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to sign Kevin Love to an extension, one worth four years and $120,402,172.
The focus now must be on working with what they have already on the roster and being able to maximize the returns on that. This starts with having team control on viable NBA talent. And Kevin Love is such a talent.
Since the time that Kevin Love has entered the league, he has been overlooked and underappreciated. Yet Love has always excelled at putting up impressive numbers in both conferences.
There are some valid criticisms of his game. He doesn’t possess elite level length, rim protection, or perimeter foot speed. He does not meet the desired attributes of the modern day big man.
But there are few if any other big men that possess his combination of low post scoring, three-point shooting, and defensive rebounding. He’s also a good enough athlete that won’t see those skills diminish as he continues to age. All of these are positive attributes that should not be overlooked.
Love still wants to be around a winning culture and sees himself as a vital piece in moving the Cavs in that direction.
More importantly, Love is an asset that wants to be here. He buys into the winning culture of the organization. “I think in some cases what we lose in identity we will make up with what we have in culture,” Love stated per Marla Ridenour of the Beacon Journal. “We’ve always had a culture here that has been very hard working. I think we’re going to see a lot of guys really having fun and being themselves. They’ll be playing really hard-nosed basketball, and being able to run, play that game, play in the half court a little bit more. Just guys, getting the best out of each other and the best out of themselves and hopefully overachieving.”
He relates to the city and wants to be a part of reshaping the roster and bringing the team back to a championship level. But that doesn’t mean that Love is blind to the challenge before him. It is not easy to simply rebuild on the fly when you have very few tradable assets to work with. And the assets that are on the roster (Cedi Osman, Ante Zizic, Collin Sexton, Larry Nance) are unproven in their abilities and upside.
However, this hasn’t deterred Love from remaining confident in his and the organization’s ability to right the ship. “Inking this feels like part of something I’m very proud to be part of,” said Love. “The quality of guys that we have, not just as basketball players, but as human beings, is going to be easy for us to establish an identity. I think this is going to shape up really nicely because of the character of guys that we have.”
With the Cavs establishing Love as their franchise player, they’re halfway there.