In the space of just two years, Kevin Love has gone from the number three option on the Cleveland Cavaliers to the leader of the team.
The departure of Kyrie Irving in 2017 saw him play second fiddle to LeBron James last season but the King’s decision to head to Los Angeles this summer has seen him now become the man in Cleveland.
It’s ironic how Love has lasted the longest as he’s been involved in trade rumours since the moment he arrived in Ohio from the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2014.
But he put an end to any speculation over his future by signing a four-year, $120 million extension in July.
The 30-year-old could’ve become a free agent in 2019 but he remained loyal to the Cavs.
Embracing the responsibility
Leading this post-LeBron Cavaliers team next season will be a tough challenge for Love but it’s one he’s ready for.
“Absolutely,” he said, appearing on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”.
“I feel like everything leading up to this point, especially my six years I spent in Minnesota, not having a ton of veterans, we had the youngest team in the league a couple years, heading into a situation in Cleveland where we were expected to win a championship.
“LeBron had signed back with the team in the 2014-15 season. They had traded for me, and we were expected to win a championship every single year.
“So now, heading into a new era, it’s gonna be a challenge — you lose the best player in the world — but I think a lot of the guys are very excited for not only the opportunity, but also the challenge in growing something.”
Compared to 2010, when James left the first time, the Cavs are in a better position as they made multiple trades over the last 12 months that secured them some decent young talent to build around.
They have a nice mix of youth and veterans on the roster with the likes of rookie Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson supporting Love, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver.
But it’s difficult to know what to expect from them next year and if they can compete for a playoff spot.
At least they’ll have an All-Star to call on and if Love can get back to his Minnesota days, the Cavaliers will be in good hands.
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