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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Separating fact from fiction when it comes to the Cavs trading for Kevin Love

Ever since the Cleveland Cavaliers signed LeBron James, the team's rumor mill has been preoccupied with one player: Minnesota's Kevin Love. The Timberwolves are willing to field calls on the three-time NBA All-Star power forward who has made clear his interest in finding a new team in the final year of his contract.

Since I wrote my piece on the Cavs needing to trade for Love, I received a lot of feedback. Many people brought up strong points to counter. "Love's never been to the playoffs!" and "Cavs would not have a bench!" were two of the most frequent arguments.

What's too much? Do the Cavs have the best offer? Why would the Cavs have to give up Wiggins?

I compiled a lot of the reasons why some people don't want to trade for Love and will do my best to separate fact from fiction.

The Cavs bench will be depleted if they trade Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and at least one future first-round pick - the latest reported offer from ESPN.

Fiction: Even with a blockbuster deal, the Cavs would still have Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Harris, Mike Miller, James Jones and possibly Ray Allen if he holds off retirement for one more year.

Depending on whether they have to use his contract in a trade, the Cavs could also have big man Brendan Haywood coming off the bench to bang, rebound and control the paint. The Cavs also have other assets to use such as non-guaranteed contracts and future draft picks to acquire other players, maybe even a center.

Many people point to the San Antonio Spurs as the model for success because they won the title most recently. But they have one in the last four years. Miami has two. San Antonio has been to the NBA Finals twice in the last four years. Miami has been there four years in a row. I'd side with Miami as the model for success most recently.

Even with the top-scoring bench in the NBA, the Spurs relied on Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills and Cory Joseph to provide the bulk of the lift for the second unit. That's four players. Building an NBA bench to be 10 or 11 deep is improbable; it just has to be a few reliable players sparking the second unit, and the Cavs would still have that, just as Miami did during its back-to-back title runs.

Kevin Love is overrated because he has never taken his team to the playoffs.

Fiction: Yes, Love has never been to the postseason. But sometimes the problem is the situation a player is in; sometimes the supporting case is the biggest issue. The Cavs never won an NBA title with LeBron James during his first seven seasons in Cleveland. Was that his fault or did some of it have to do with his supporting cast? It's the same situation for Love.

Minnesota has squandered a few lottery picks, which have set the team back in its development. It drafted Ricky Rubio over Stephen Curry. Then it had another chance at Curry, but chose Jonny Flynn, who is out of the league. Minnesota drafted Derrick Williams second overall in 2011. He was shipped off to Sacramento for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute because Williams was such a poor fit.

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