Doug Gottlieb firmly believes that Kevin Love should not re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Love is the third option in Cleveland, and the Cavs already have several big guys who deserve heavy minutes. For those reasons alone, it makes a lot of sense for Love to walk.
And yet, the Cavs are expected to re-sign him.
“I don’t know if I’d put it at 100 percent, but right now I’m expecting that he is going to stay in Cleveland at least for another year,” Bleacher Report NBA insider Ric Bucher said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s not signing up long term. It’s doing the proverbial one-and-one. One, he gets a little bit of a raise – that’s why he opted out – but he also maintains his flexibility in being able to go someplace else next summer. It makes far more sense for him to stay there, particularly if he’s going to do a one-and-one because the one thing that nobody is talking about is the fact that he might not be ready to play day one for the season. It may not be until we get into the season that we see him.
“But I agree with all of your points,” Bucher continued. “He’s so far down the peking order now. I mean, LeBron James has said (he thinks Tristan Thompson) should be a Cavalier for life. I question the fact that basically Tristan Thompson works for LeBron James, and the leverage and the ability to extort money for Tristan Thompson – because they’re both with the same agency – there’s something (about that) that’s a little untoward, if (not) a violation, (at least) to me. But that aside, Tristan Thompson is ahead of Kevin Love. There’s no LeBron saying I think Kevin Love should be a Cavalier for life.”
Unfortunately for Love, Thompson isn’t the only Cavs big man who gets heavy minutes. There’s also Timofey Mozgov and Anderson Varejao.
“Mozgov is a better fit in a lot of ways than Kevin Love is with the way that the Cavaliers want to play,” Bucher said. “So when you add it all together, yeah, I agree with you. But because of the injury, it makes more sense for him, in my mind, to stay there next season and then see how things go, see where you fit and move from there. My real question – especially with LeBron supposedly meeting with Kevin in L.A. poolside – is what are the Cavs going to do as far as how much they’re going to offer him? Are they automatically going to offer him as much as they can right now? I know (general manager) David Griffin would. But is he driving this, or is it LeBron? And if I’m the Cavaliers, if I can sign him, I sign him – but then I’m looking to move him. As you point out, they have other needs that are far greater than what Kevin Love provides.”
Which is why even if Love re-signs, Bucher does not believe the Cavs are a lock to win an NBA title.
“I’m not convinced as everybody else is – or a lot of other people are – that if you stand pat that this is a championship-caliber team,” Bucher said. “I believe that they need more help on the perimeter as far as two-way players (and) spot-up guys that are going to space the floor. They are at their best when LeBron James is playing power forward. I said that for the last six years. When he was in Miami, I thought that the best position for him is playing power forward. That’s when he creates the greatest matchup nightmare, and it doesn’t mean that he always has to play below the free-throw line. But he’s going to play there more often than not because that’s how teams are going to gamble. They’re going to try to play smaller against him and make him post up. And for me, when he does that now, he’s far more effective with that team than when he’s playing on the perimeter.”