It’s been a whirlwind Finals for Kevin Love. After struggling in the first game, he suffered a concussion in Game 2 and missed Game 3. He was cleared in Game 4, but came off the bench. And if the Cavs lose the series to the Warriors, trade rumors will heat up heading into the offseason. Love, for one, doesn’t understand why he’s always under such scrutiny when the Cavs struggle.
Why does this conversation always seem to occur with him specifically? Why does public sentiment turn on him as soon as the Cavs stumble?
“Why do you think?” Love said, answering a question with a question. “You’re part of it. I’m not saying you’re who does it, but you are there with the people that do …
“I don’t know how to answer it, because I have a couple bad games last series [against Toronto], tough games, and have to come back and do whatever I needed to do to help the team. Still, it’s just never enough.”
Public perception has been an issue with Love since long before he was traded to the Cavs. In his six years in Minnesota, their failure to make the playoffs got him labeled as a “good stats on a bad team” player, and after the Cavs traded No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins for him in 2014, pressure was on the Cavs to win right away. David Blatt already had his turn being the scapegoat, and Kyrie Irving‘s status as a homegrown draft pick will make him immune at least for a little bit longer. So that leaves Love as the popular target of blame, even though he’s still a very talented player who could help a team if he’s not expected to be a No. 1 option.
Love has always been an imperfect fit in Cleveland, struggling to fit into their offense as a third wheel and unable to stay on the floor if he isn’t shooting well, because of his limitations on the defensive end. A trade might make sense for all parties involved.