Regardless of what happens during the rest of the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers will likely reassess their roster this offseason – and by “their roster,” we mean “Kevin Love.”
Yes, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving went off for 41 points apiece in a do-or-die Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday. Love, meanwhile, had two points and three rebounds in 33 minutes.
That’s not much production from a guy who last year signed a five-year $110 million contract.
“It’s funny,” Sporting News NBA writer Sean Deveney said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “When he signed the contract to stay there last summer, I was talking to a GM two or three days afterwards and he said, ‘You wait. In February, they’ll start having talks, and by next summer, they’ll be looking to deal him.’ It looks like that’s how it’s playing out – that they’re going to be ready to make a move.”
Love has been woefully unproductive in the Finals, averaging 8.8 points and 6.0 rebounds in four games (he missed Game 3 with a concussion).
“It’s obvious that he just can’t play with LeBron,” Deveney said. “They just don’t fit together. They’re going to have to see what they can get. I think Kevin Love winds up being your fall guy (if the Cavs lose). Obviously you can’t fire the coach again. That’s not going to get you anywhere, so I think it will wind up being Love who gets put on the trade block and probably is dealt.”
Despite Love’s quiet Finals, he should have decent trade value. The 27-year-old averaged 16.0 points and 9.9 rebounds this season as a third option.
“I think the rest of the league still sees him as a guy who can be a featured option and as a guy who just didn’t fit with LeBron but can still be a guy who’s a 20-and-10 player in this league,” Deveney said. “Just not with this lineup, not playing with LeBron. He just never really found a way to fit in. Chris Bosh struggled with that as well, but we saw Bosh sort of return to his old form once he wasn’t playing with LeBron anymore. I think you got to put Kevin Love into that context of put him back into his old role where he’s going to do the things that he did before.”