What a difference four years, two more MVP trophies, two rings and a gold medal makes.
In the summer of 2010, LeBron James couldn’t beg a free agent to consider Cleveland as an enticing destination. Now, Cleveland is the epicenter of the sports universe it seems.
According to the NBA’s most reliable source, Adrian Wojnarowski, Kevin Love to the Cavaliers is a done deal that can’t be made official until August 23, the first day Andrew Wiggins is allowed to be dealt.
The “agreement in principle” states Kevin Love heads to Cleveland while Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a projected 2015 first rounder head north to Minnesota. The Cavs have made the deal with a firm agreement that Love will opt out next summer and re-sign with Cleveland to the tune of a five-year, $120 million extension.
For Wiggins, at least it’s all over. The Wolves want him, which is all Andrew desired in the first place. Pairing him alongside Zach LaVine already has the makings of one of the more exciting young duos in the league next season (and one starting the season with humongous chips on their shoulders).
For the Cavs, it’s gut-check time now. For a team that hasn’t sniffed the playoffs since LeBron was wearing No. 23 the first time, it’s an overnight makeover from up-and-coming squad to a legit title contender in the span of less than a month. Cleveland’s obsession with stock piling on veterans in the ilk of Mike Miller, James Jones and perhaps soon Shawn Marion (and maybe even Ray Allen down the line) represent their acknowledgement of such.
The Cavs have pushed all their chips on the table this summer. They’re all in. As we saw with Year 1 of The Miami Heat Experience, however, a sexy roster doesn’t mean all parts will fall in line effortlessly from the first jump ball. Chemistry has to be worked out, roles have to not only be assigned, but accepted and now a team with players who aren’t used to having bulls-eyes on their backs should best familiarize themselves with the stance.
The Cavs aren’t guaranteed anything and they still has issues to fill, primarily on the defensive side of the ball. However, compare now to where the franchise was only months ago when Andrew Bynum was Andrew Bynum’ing, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters were ready to claw each other’s eyes out and Mike Brown was leading the charge, the transformation is night and day. And there’s this.
Quicken Loans Arena might be the loudest stadium in the league next year – or at least top three – with respect to Oklahoma City and Golden State’s digs. And that first no dribble Love-to-Kyrie-to-LeBron full court fast break will be a thing of pure beauty.
* – Pepsi has to be doing back flips right now. Uncle Drew and Old Man Wes ride again.