How do the Cleveland Cavaliers solve a problem like Kevin Love?

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Winning a first championship in franchise history has allowed the Cleveland Cavaliers front office to enjoy a relaxed and stress-free summer.

Failure to capture the Larry O'Brien trophy would've piled huge pressure on general manager David Griffin and owner Dan Gilbert after they assembled the most expensive roster in the league to end the team's wait for a title. 

The brilliance of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving has allowed the Ohio-based outfit to operate out of the spotlight this offseason and not answer the burning questions that were being prepared as they trailed the Golden State Warriors 3-1 in the Finals.

The main question surrounded the future of Kevin Love. Despite winning the championship, there are many who would still like to know where he fits in with the Cavs and if it's a good idea to keep him in Cleveland.

Love's struggles in the Finals are no secret as he became a non-factor in the Wine and Gold's remarkable comeback victory. So what should the reigning champions do with the power forward?

Should he stay or should he go?

This question is now a little bit more difficult to answer after LeBron and co. secured the championship. The short-term answer is they should keep hold of him, the long-term answer is they should trade him.

GM David Griffin has already made it clear that the franchise is keen to keep most of its players, including Love in particular.

Having lost Matthew Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov in free agency, it wouldn't make much sense to move Love at this stage.

Despite his struggles against the Warriors, the former Minnesota Timberwolves big man had a productive season in Cleveland and came up big in the earlier rounds in the playoffs averaging a solid 16 points and 10 rebounds for the campaign. 

The 27-year-old has become an easy target in a Cavs uniform and some of it has been unfair. Coming from a Timberwolves team where he was the number one option, to join a Cleveland team as the third option takes some getting used to for any player.

To his credit, particularly since the arrival of Tyronn Lue as head coach, Love has learnt to figure out a role for himself on the team and be a pivotal figure.

How can he be used?

Under former coach David Blatt, K.Love was used almost exclusively as a spot-up shooter standing on the three-point line, which limits his true skillset.

Lue made it his mission to integrate the three-time All-Star to his offence and he was largely successful at doing so.

He instructed Love to balance his game between the post and the perimeter and the results were evident as the forward began enjoying his game again.

It took one specific expletive from Lue for Love to stand up and take notice after his head coach told him, "Kevin, you got to be more aggressive. Tell LeBron, I'm a bad [expletive] too, so throw me the ball."

The young Cavs head coach has immense confidence in his big man and in an interview with ESPN Radio after the Finals he was emphatic in where Kev's future lies.

"Oh, he's going to be here," Lue said, when asked about Love's future in Cleveland. "I mean, without Kevin Love, we wouldn't have gotten to the Finals. You know, he had a great series against Detroit, a great series against Atlanta, a great series against Toronto. You know, with the way Golden State plays, and the positions they put you in, it was just a tough series [for him to play in]."

Lue found the right way to utilise Love and he must continue to make use of both his low-post game and shooting ability to keep defences guessing. Next season will be huge for him as he will be able to play in an environment where the pressure isn't so high anymore.

Trade options

If Cleveland do enter into trade talks during the next campaign, there are multiple landing spots for Love, but not many can offer the champions much in return.

One destination that always creeps up for K.Love is Boston. The Celtics' acquisition of Al Horford makes this a little less likely but that potential frontcourt still has star power.

The C's are a young team, however, and would have to part with some of their better players to do a deal which wouldn't make much sense.

Another possible trade could include the Portland Trail Blazers who are still in search of scoring in their frontcourt since the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge to the San Antonio Spurs.

Again, though, it would mean the Blazers giving up one of their better players to do a deal and with the young core they have built under Terry Stotts, it would be surprising if they entered into a deal.

The Houston Rockets could also throw their name into the mix after losing Dwight Howard and having little by way of scoring in their frontcourt.

With Mike D'Antoni's offensive system, Love could make use of the opportunities that may present itself.

The Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and Charlotte Hornets are all possible destinations for the All-NBA performer, but exactly who can offer Cleveland an attractive package is the big question. 

With the increasing payroll the Cavaliers have assembled, it's more than likely that Love will be the man to be sacrificed, but it's unlikely to be in the near future.

For now, Love will remain in the air in Ohio.

Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
LeBron James
Kevin Love

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