October 21, 2014

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Cavaliers: Forget about the future, Love’s addition could bring title now

Kevin Love

Kevin Love

Most have already come around, but I’m still amazed at the mentality of some Cleveland pro sports fans.

I’m talking about the complete infatuation of some with potential, with the future, with youth. And, of course, with drafts and draft picks.

In this case, I’m talking specifically about the Cavaliers’ recent acquisition of three-time All-Star power forward Kevin Love.

As unfathomable as it seems to me, there are still a select few who don’t like the deal.

But as Nick Gilbert, the son of free-spending Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, would say, “What’s not to like?”

The 6-foot-10, 243-pound Love averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists while playing 77 out of 82 games last season. He doesn’t turn 26 until next month. He’s a great 3-point shooter and an even better rebounder. His outlet pass is the best in the game today.

And his basketball IQ, as pointed out by none other than new teammate LeBron James, who has the best basketball IQ in the NBA, is off the charts.

Yet there are still some people who think the Cavs erred by giving up on 19-year-old Andrew Wiggins.

I don’t get it.

Wiggins might be good this season. He might even be very good. One day, he might be very, very good. In a few years, he might even be great.

But Love is already great.

Right now.

Today.

Folks, the Cavs can win a championship in 2014-15. Let me type that again, and this time I want you to imagine I’m putting added emphasis on the specific season: The Cavs can win a championship in 2014-15.

Now let that sink in, people. We’re talking about THIS season, not some three-year plan or four-year plan or, gasp, five-year plan.

The Cavs have James, the best player on the planet. They have Love, who is arguably the best power forward in the game, though a case could be made for Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge. They have Kyrie Irving, a top-five point guard who is only going to get better. Better still, James, at 29, is the oldest of the bunch.

And the Cavs still have Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova.

And they’ve added Shawn Marion, who will officially sign in the next few weeks, Mike Miller and James Jones, with 39-year-old shooting guard Ray Allen still a strong possibility as well.

That’s championship material, folks. A few of you might not be able to wrap your head around it just yet, but it is.

Barring a catastrophic or untimely injury to one or two of “The Big Three,” it should at least be a trip to the NBA Finals, as over-hyped Chicago will likely be Cleveland’s stiffest challenger in the still sad-sack Eastern Conference.

Northeast Ohio sports fans, however, have been conditioned to expect the worst. They’ve also learned to fall in love with potential, with youth, with long-range plans that haven’t reached total fruition in these parts in 50 years.

Most have come around regarding the Love deal, but there are still people out there — I know, because some have commented on my Twitter and Facebook pages — that fear Love is “going to pull a Boozer.”

It ain’t gonna happen, people. Boozer reneged on a wink-wink deal with the Cavs because Utah gave him far more money than Cleveland was every going to offer. Plus, while the Cavs were on the verge of getting better at that time, they were still far from great.

The Cavs are great now. And this is where Love wants to be. And Cleveland can offer him, assuming he opts out of the final year of his contract in July 2015, a five-year deal for $120 million. That’s way, way, wayyyyyyy more than any other team can give him.

Plus, Love will be playing with James. And Irving. And have the opportunity to compete for a title the next three, four, five years.

It’s time to shake that Cleveland pro sports conditioning, that Cleveland pro sports mentality, that has forced people to look toward the future for so many years, so many decades.

The future is now.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RickNoland.

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