The Dream Team, Dream Team II and the Redeem Team. The team USA Olympic stage has birthed some of the best basketball moments in history. This summer will be no different as a myriad of stars will look to showcase their talents to the world. For Kevin Love, that also means the chance to escape the Cleveland Cavaliers by showing that his skills have not completely diminished.
Olympics Could Help Kevin Love Escape Cleveland
The usual response from players in the Olympics tends to land somewhere between the joy of representing their countries and the quest for capturing gold medals. However, most players realize that bigger goals can lie beneath the obvious.
In 1992, Charles Barkley made the world stage his coming out party before becoming the league MVP. Nowadays, the story behind medal chasing is the rumored behind the scenes recruiting that leads to super teams. Love should be on a different path though. One along the lines of Dwyane Wade‘s 2008 resurgence, in Beijing, after a litany of injuries. Just on a smaller scale.
Where is the Love?
When the official 2021 Olympic roster was released, one of the most surprising names to see was that of Love. Particularly because of his post-Finals appearance plummet.
Injured and uninspired would be the only way to accurately describe it.
Of Cleveland’s last 219 games, Love has only been available for 103 of them. Clocking 25-games or less in two of the three seasons. Bundle that with a career low in rebounds (7.4), second lowest amount of points (12.2) and third worst field goal percentage (40.9) per game. Love’s statistics look more like that of an overpaid sixth man, rather than that of a starter – worthy of two years, $60 million.
This Summer Will Dictate Love’s Future
The contract is bad, but so is the pouting. A simple change of scenery could bring a Blake Griffin-like resurgence, but is anyone eager for the teammate who purposely rolls the ball to the opposition in frustration?
Love could calm those questions by using the summer Olympics as a stock building mission. Get aggressive on the boards. Rekindle his shooting touch. Show that he can be a quality teammate. All in hopes of rehabilitating trade value in a way that works for all parties involved.
An Escape Route for Love
For Love, playing good in Tokyo opens him up to the possibility of a fresh start elsewhere, because a buyout is unlikely. For the Cavaliers, it is an opportunity to offload a player who does not fit into their rebuild. And for the opposition, Love displaying contributory skills eases the reluctance to take his contract as a tag-along in facilitating rumored Colin Sexton deals.
Medals are great, but Love’s motivation should be whatever it takes to make him good enough to be rescued from Cleveland and head towards the next act of his career.
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