Many expected Kevin Love to be the second option in the Cleveland Cavaliers' offense this season. Pick and Rolls with LeBron James and Love would destroy worlds and conquer heavens. Kyrie Irving would have to find ways to improve his spot up three point shooting and create when LeBron James went to the bench.
For a variety of reasons, it just hasn't worked out this way. Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, and Timofey Mozgov aren't ideal floor spacers, so on PnR's, Love has often been the one spotting up to create the space. Kyrie Irving has been better than just about anyone expected. And Love has appeared to be hurt at various points. He talked to espn.com about it this weekend:
The three-time All-Star denied that he might need a procedure after the season to address any specific concerns but acknowledged that he has been dealing with stiffness and recurring back spasms since November.
"It's something I want to get right before we get to the playoffs, because that's what's most important at this point," Love, 26, told ESPN.com before Saturday's practice in preparation for Sunday's game against the Magic. "It's not something that's -- I'm going to have to address my body. But I address my body every offseason. I'll go from my toe all the way up to my head to try to figure out how to better my body for next season. It's not something that's going to bother me down the road."
People have speculated about Love's mindset all season long. He's given no indication he wants to be anywhere other than Cleveland, but his stats have gone down and he didn't make the All-Star Game. It's fair to wonder if he's thrilled with the arrangement. At least publicly, though, he's still saying the right things:
Love has spent much of the season trying to prevent his challenge of fitting in and finding a rhythm from becoming a distraction to the team. The recent success on the court has made the process far less of a hassle.
"Everything is easier when you're winning," Love said. "So you can have some really good games, and then some tough times. The rotation might be different. But as long as you're winning, it kind of makes up for everything. And that's the kind of way it's been here."
And that's really what it comes down to. Is Kevin Love going to leave the best team he's ever been on, that employs Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, and take less money somewhere else? The most likely scenario, to me, is that he opts into next year. That gives the Cavs two years to work out Love's role in the offense and try and win a championship. If they do that, well, it's hard to see him going anywhere.