Love hurts: Time for Kevin Love, Cavs to rip the Band-Aid off

Cleveland Cavaliers big Kevin Love reacts in-game. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Kevin Love reacts in-game. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Michael Stanley Band, Po-Boy Sandwiches and debating Kevin Love – the three pillars of conversation for any Clevelander. Two of the three generally receive positive, if not rave reviews. The other – Love, has frequently been the source of Cleveland Cavaliers fans’ eye rolls, groans, and post-Po’ Boy heartburn.

Since signing a four-year deal to remain with Cleveland after the 2017-18 season, Love has rarely been healthy, or impactful. Turning 33 before the start of next season, the former All-Star is an odd fit for a Cavs team that is (seemingly always) in rebuilding mode. Not only are the Cavs going young, but their frontcourt has plenty of depth.

It’s likely all but one or maybe two of the Cavaliers’ frontcourt players: Jarrett Allen, Larry Nance Jr., Isaiah Hartenstein, Lamar Stevens, Dean Wade and Taurean Prince will return for the 2021-22 season.

There’s also the possibility of adding an additional frontcourt player, such as USC’s Evan Mobley with their upcoming lottery pick; although one of the aforementioned current Cavs could be on the way out in that case. Albeit if Cleveland’s frontcourt were a hotel room, this Marriott would be double-booked.

A major part of the team’s four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals (2015 -2018), Love played just 25 games during this-now past season mostly due to a right calf injury. He averaged a career-low in rebounds per game (just over 7) and had his lowest point per game average (just over 12) since his rookie season. No doubt, Love can still contribute to a contender. Especially when he’s bought in and engaged – something we’ve seemingly rarely seen from him since re-signing in Cleveland, and likely because of the injury woes.

But this isn’t to pick on K-Love – a player who realistically may find his number 0 hanging from the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse rafters after he retires. An All-Star, Olympian, lottery pick, title-winner: Love has had a phenomenal career and deserves to play for a team competing for a title, rather than one competing for ping pong balls.

With that being the case, the Cavs and Love should rip the Band-Aid off.

One solution that would make sense for both parties would be to buyout Kevin Love’s contract. The grumpy and often gimpy vet enters next season with two years and $60 million dollars remaining on his contract.

That’s a big number for sure, but it’s considerably less than what Love was owed entering this season (roughly $90 million) which has made him untradable. No player wants to give back any money that is owed to them, nor does any team want to pay a player just to go away. But the time has come for Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Koby Altman to bite the bullet and give Love, who’s let frustration get the best of him at times in this rebuild, his buyout.

Earlier in this 2020-21 season for the league still, the Detroit Pistons and Blake Griffin agreed to a contract buyout paving the way for Griffin to join the title-contending Brooklyn Nets. Griffin reportedly had $75 million dollars left on his contract and agreed to give back $13.3 million to secure the buyout. A similar agreement would seem feasible for both Love and the Cavs.

As much as the thought of paying a player significant money to leave would hurt the Cavaliers, it’s more painful to watch Love spend the back nine of his career sulking in Cleveland. Now Love is reportedly a fan of Cleveland’s young talent, but it’s evident that the two sides would be better off at this point going their separate ways.

dark. Next. Cleveland Cavaliers: 15 best forwards in franchise history

Should the Cavs and Love fail to come to an agreement on a buyout this offseason, expect fans to belt out a Michael Stanley Band classic – “Here we go again” when the season tips off.