The Kevin Love trade to Cleveland became official on Saturday, August 23rd. Love, a three time all-star, was traded to the Cavaliers as part of a three team deal involving the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Cavaliers. In exchange for Love, Cleveland parted ways with their last two number one overall picks to, in essence, cash in on the present instead of waiting for potential to pan out.
With Love now a member of the Cavaliers, Cleveland has quite the big 3. They have an all-star point guard in Kyrie Irving, a four-time MVP and two-time NBA champion in LeBron James, and a three time all-star in Kevin Love. They also have a nice mix of young talent and older veterans with the likes of Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, Mike Miller and Shawn Marion.
With Cleveland back to being one of the top teams in the league, and with the Washington Wizards returning to prominence last season, the rivalry between these two teams from the mid-2000s should definitely resume this upcoming season. LeBron is the main remaining piece from that rivalry, but even he is a much different player now than what he was back then. Each team is arguably more talented than those teams from the mid-00s, and each team is definitely among the favorites to finish at or near the top of a very wide open eastern conference.
For Washington, the Kevin Love trade introduces a new element to the equation. Love is one of the best big men in the league, but Marcin Gortat, Nene and the rest of the Washington big men will be up for the challenge come November when the two teams first play each other.
While this version of the Cavaliers is supremely more talented than any team LeBron played with while previously in Cleveland, a serious argument can be made that this Wizards team is better and deeper than any of those teams that LeBron helped eliminate in the playoffs three years in a row. Obviously, Gilbert Arenas was an unbelievable talent, and Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler were really good as well, but John Wall, Bradley Beal, Nene, Gortat and the rest of this roster are nothing to sneeze at. So Cavs/Wizards 2.0 should be even more exciting than it was before if these two teams meet in the postseason.
For the rest of the eastern conference, the Kevin Love trade presents yet another obstacle and provides yet another weapon for the best player in the world. A scary thought indeed, but this Cleveland team is far from insurmountable. Love and Irving are great offensive talents, but neither is known for their defensive prowess, which might render them a liability on that side of the ball at times. So teams will be able to at least compete in shootouts when necessary if they can’t stop them on the offensive end.
Ultimately, Kevin Love’s migration from the west to the east means a strong adversary just got stronger. Cleveland is a better team with Love, and with a Love/Irving/LeBron core, they have the ability to be a juggernaut for the next several years.
But make no mistake about it; this Cleveland team is far from unbeatable. And they probably won’t be as dominant as LeBron’s former big 3-led team in Miami.