Just as things seem to be going smoothly for the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James releases a team Instagram pic minus Kevin Love. Let the media hyperbole begin, again. Outlet after outlet speculated upon the relationship between Love and James. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported that James’ patience with Love has reached a tipping point. Does Lebron Like Kevin? Does Kevin like LeBron? What did mom pack them for lunch? Who will they ask to the prom? Oh wait a minute I forgot this isn’t high school. That’s right its not. Who cares who likes who and who’s in what picture. All that matters is wins and losses.
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Last time I checked, were Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant besties? Did Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen have weekly sleepovers? No, they didn’t — they just won games. In sports, friends are so overrated. The names I just mentioned didn’t have the greatest of relationships off the court but they put their differences aside to do something special.
Why can’t James and Love do the same? They can, and they have. Both are a part of the NBA’s best team since January 15th. I have stated this ad nauseam: Cleveland’s season started on January 15th. The team before then is absolutely nothing like the team presently constructed. Out are lineups that consist of the likes of Dion Waiters, Mike Miller, Anderson Varejao and Shawn Marion; in are Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov. Anything before that date should be null and void.
The on-court relationship between James and Love is a work in progress. It’s supposed to be. This is common among new teammates and it can take a year or more for one to adjust to a new role, as Love has had to. With that being said, Love is still averaging 16.3 points and 10 rebounds a night. Most people would like to have that for a career. He’s the third option too. Of course he won’t put up the same numbers he did in Minnesota, duh! He’s playing with two superstars who can take the onus off of him.
I took the liberty of comparing K Love’s 16 and 10 with other third options or third wheels among league contenders to see how he stacks up. Let’s take a look.
[table id=3 /]
Stats Per NBA.com
As you can see, Love’s numbers are in line with a third option on a contender. This media speculation is tired and outright annoying. The same criticisms were being made of Chris Bosh in Miami in 2010. Well how did that one turn out? Just four straight finals appearances and two titles. This stuff is being so overblown.
It’s being said that Love is no longer a player that can cash in on a max contract this off season (which is highly debatable) and that his days in wine and gold are numbered.
Look, if Love and company go on to hoist the title, Love would be crazy to leave. Not only would it show that money matters more to him than winning, it would show his ineptitude as a teammate. If Love cannot coexist with Lebron, who is universally known as the best teammate in the world, how can he play with any other star in the league?
I really wish the media and headline makers would just relax. I know it’s part of their job to speculate, but it’s getting old. We’ve seen this scene before. Lebron and Kevin will be okay. These are two of the smarter and most talented basketball players the world has to offer. Let’s let them breathe.