COLUMNS

No Love

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere.

Sometimes, when you try to win now, you don't win at all.

Whether or not that becomes the fate of the Cavaliers is still uncertain, but that harsh reality is always looming. It's always slithering in the darkness, ready to bite them on the backside at the most opportune time.

Cleveland made an emphatic statement during the summer after the re-acquisition of native son LeBron James. They decided that they wanted to win and they wanted to win now.

They didn't want to wait for their young first-round draft pick Andrew Wiggins to mature and grow into a top-flight player. They wanted to bring home an NBA title this year.

So, they sacrificed the future to prosper in the present.

They shipped the youngster, former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and a future first-round draft pick off to Minnesota in return for perennial All-Star forward Kevin Love.

The idea was inserting Love into a lineup that already featured LeBron and arguably the NBA's best young point guard in Kyrie Irving to create the instant favorites in the Eastern Conference.

It worked. The Cavaliers became the toast of the league and everyone--including myself--thought they would be shoe-ins for the NBA Finals.

Who knows? Cleveland may still make it there but if they do, it will be without Love.

The versatile big man has torn his labarum and with surgery, he will be out for four to six weeks--virtually ending his season. The injury just might have also ended his short career in Cleveland.

It has in no way been a disaster, but let's be real here. The Love experiment hasn't exactly panned out for the Cavaliers.

Love averaged 26 points and 13 rebounds per game last year with the Timberwolves. In his first year in Cleveland, those numbers plummeted to just 16 points and 10 rebounds per contest.

Oftentimes, he has looked lost in the Cavaliers' offense. Bottom line, he just hasn't meshed well with LeBron and Irving--on or off of the court.

There just isn't that camaraderie that we saw in Miami with LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

At one point this season, LeBron took a photo of he and all of his teammates together for social media. Love was conspicuous by his absence. His omission was not the big deal people tried to make it out to be but still, it shows that the chemistry just isn't there between he and his new team.

So, the guy that they brought in to be an instant difference-maker and to make them championship contenders in the immediate future is already the past.

He won't be helping them for the rest of the season. And judging by the way this experiment has gone, I seriously doubt Love will be a Cavalier next year. He'll most likely be signing with another team during the summer.

So, what's the damage for Cleveland? If this season is any indication, it could turn out to be a blunder that will come back to haunt them for years to come.

While the acquisition of Love was a dud and short-lived, Wiggins continues to impress in Minnesota.

The youngster averaged 17 points and five rebounds per game this season and looks to be an easy choice for Rookie of the Year. He's only going to get better. And just think, he could be a Cavalier right now.

Cleveland passed on his potential in favor of what they considered a proven and tested commodity in Love. They thought that while Wiggins might have had the greater upside, Love could deliver a championship within the next couple of years.

Hey, I believed the same thing. It was just a matter of which philosophy was the smartest to adopt. Do you go all out to win now and worry about the future when it comes or do you be patient and try to build something great long term?

The Cavaliers decided that the former was the best option for them. Unfortunately, Love just hasn't lived up to the hype. So now, it almost seems like they sacrificed their future for nothing.

Even if Cleveland can run the table and bring home a title on the backs of LeBron and Irving this season, make no mistake about it, the Love deal will still prove to be a setback.

They shipped off one of the NBA's best young stars, a former No. 1 pick and a future first-round selection for a guy that wasn't even there when you needed him the most.