The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t sitting around on their laurels thinking about how things didn’t go their way in the NBA Finals, they’ve been active in free agency on the first day. That journey to get back to the Finals and bring home the hardware started with securing one of the members of their ‘Big 3’ in Kevin Love. He missed a chunk of the postseason after getting hurt in the first round, his team definitely missed him on the offensive end as the postseason progressed.
The former Timberwolf definitely had to adjust to playing with LeBron James for the first time, but he seemed to learn to make the most of his opportunities in their first year together. Former teammate of James, Chris Bosh said near the start of last season that Love would really have to sacrifice to play with James. Some in the media, as well as fans took that as a dig from an ex-teammate. That wasn’t the case, Bosh knows what Love was about to and went through first hand as he was that same guy just five years ago. Love went from 26 points and 12.5 rebounds a game in his last year in Minnesota to 16 points and 10 rebounds in his first tour as a Cavalier.
Pundits, analysts, and fans (not all, but many) seemed to repeat the same cycle of negativity towards Love as they did Bosh in his time alongside James. It’s certainly not an indictment on Love’s talent, but rather just part of what happens when you play with the best player in the league. LeBron’s greatest gift is making his teammates better, that requires him having the ball far more than others. The difference is that in Miami, Bosh-Wade-James were all getting that 16-18 shots a game. That hasn’t been the case in the first year in Cleveland with Love averaging 12-13 shots, Irving took 16-17 shots and James took 18-19 shots a game last season. The Cavs gave Love a five-year $110 million dollar deal, so Coach Blatt and the powers that be will certainly have to figure out how to get one of their best players more involved. It’s evident that both parties want to continue their relationship as evidenced by the deal, it’ll be interesting to see how things change in that regard going forward.
Kevin Love will accept a five-year, $110 million contract extension with the Cavs according to sources
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 1, 2015
Love wasn’t the only Cav to get paid today, former Knick wing Iman Shumpert got a deal done as well. Shumpert proved his worth to the team the moment he landed from the Knicks. He’s a very good defender, a versatile one at that. There’s work to be done on his jumpshot, but he’s certainly another ball handler and slasher for them. His size, speed, and quickness allow him to guard several positions. In the Finals, he routinely got his hands on the ball, stripping Golden State ball handlers. He’s only 25 years old, so there’s still time for him to grow.
Iman Shumpert has agreed to a four-year, $40M contract to remain with the Cavaliers, league source tells Yahoo. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2015
Several reports (Woj, Stein, Kennedy) came out earlier today that the Cavaliers fully expect to get a deal done with Tristian Thompson as well. So, Dan Gilbert has been anything but shy in his pursuit of an NBA Championship. They still have to sign LeBron, will it be a long term deal or another one year rental?
ESPN sources tell @WindhorstESPN & I that Cavs and Tristan Thompson are nearing agreement on deal that will pay the RFA in excess of $80 mil
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 1, 2015