The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t exactly gotten the All-Star version of power forward Kevin Love since they traded for him two seasons ago. But, Love hasn’t exactly been awful either, averaging 16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds while sinking 302 3-pointers while playing a crucial role in Cleveland’s 2015-16 championship run. As the Cavs prep for their training camp in a few weeks, Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto reports the team is looking forward to Love being fully healthy and continues to refute trade talk:
The Cavs are very excited about Love this season. They talk about him “being in the best place” mentally and physically since being traded to the Cavs in 2014. Once again, he spent much of the off-season at the U.S. Olympic ski training facility in Park City, Utah. The Cavs like how Love dropped 15 pounds last summer and added flexibility — and I hear Love is in excellent shape right now.
But just as important, Love endured a very rough NBA Finals. He made a key defensive stop on Stephen Curry in the final minute of Game 7 over Golden State, finishing with nine points and a team-high 14 rebounds. In his 30 minutes on the court, the Cavs out-scored Golden State by 19 points. That was the best plus/minus mark of any Cavalier in Game 7.
He gave up his scoring to concentrate on rebounding, defense and doing what was needed to help win a title.
As someone close to the situation told me, “Kevin learned about what it takes to win. He really matured last season.”
Love evolved from the 26-point scorer and lazy defender on a Minnesota team that never had a winning record or made the playoffs in six seasons. He turns 28 on Wednesday. He is in the prime of his career and feeling very comfortable with his spot on the team.
Once again, there are some silly trade rumors. I’ve been told since the middle of last season the Cavs have no intention of trading Love. And the same is true after the title.
Had the Cavs collapsed in the playoffs, certainly a trade of Love or almost anyone not named LeBron James would have been possible. But the goal for General Manager
David Griffin has been to “bring back the band,” as he’s called it several times.
Love is not going anywhere as the training camp looms late in September.