Kevin Love survived the incessant nitpicking and speculation about what his role with the Cleveland Cavaliers would be and if his foreseeable future with the team was for certain. After missing practically the entire postseason when the Cavs made their run to the 2015 Finals, Love reaped the consummate reward for his fortitude by winning a championship this past June.
While the Cavs and Love might have reached their niche, and while his moments of impact were vital throughout the 2016 playoffs, there are those who might still argue that the Cavs don’t need Love. Now fully acclimated to the atmosphere of critical reception, Love is even less worried about what people think.
Kevin Love was asked about his fit with the Cavaliers: "I love this team. There will always be stories… I don't give a s***." #Cavs
— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) September 30, 2016
This mindset should be easy to have now — Love’s patience and endurance paid off tenfold. While he may not be an All-Star or the focal point he once was, his talents and efforts are being contributed towards a winning cause. As they say, winning cures all, making it all too logical for the Cavs to officially denounce any and all ideas of possibly trading Love after winning a championship with him as a key contributor.
You can’t just go out and pick up another talent like Kevin Love. But, while he’s not easily replaceable, Love still has a chance to show why he’s legitimately indispensable. If the Cavs, or any successful team for that matter, takes a step back, variables are going to be assessed.
Sure, Love is considered one of Cleveland’s Big 3, but hypothetically speaking, if the Cavs were to experience some kind of unforeseen implosion, Love would likely still be the first line of assessment. His value itself is what makes him a sensible trade chip for the Cavs. Love would warrant a profitable return that might be able to compensate for his absence.
Love has sacrificed, adapted, and he’s a champion. This next phase for the Cavs, namely repeating as champions, requires a new kind of effort entirely. Kyrie Irving had a dominant rise to the occasion in the 2016 Finals. I would argue that there’s room for Kevin Love to further ascend his presence on this team, and that the Cavs will need that to happen in order for sustained success.