The Cavaliers made two monumental signings when they wooed LeBron James back to Cleveland and traded for All-Star Kevin Love. But has the drama between the two affected the team’s chances to win the title and cash in your NBA picks?
No, Kevin Love doesn’t really stink but during the preseason he had his moments. During the preseason he was not gelling with his new teammates and said the following:
"I'm comfortable and just not trying to, I guess, fit in so much. I had a talk with the guys on the plane ride over to Brazil and also at different practices off the floor and they told me to fit out. Just be myself.”
"I kind of laughed and smirked at that. Off the court, I never have any problems with that. But on the court, it's just us having so many weapons and being able to fit together out there on the floor. ... You always say check your egos at the door but we also need to bring our egos with us because that's what makes us so great. We wouldn't be here without them."
Fast forward to a rough patch a few months ago when LeBron tweeted the following:
Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN. Be a part of something special! Just my thoughts.
The FIT-OUT and FIT-IN were in caps just as Love had capitalized them in a tweet way back in October. It was clearly a dig at his teammate and not a general assertion about the team as he initially stated when asked about the coincidental capitalization. It was, in effect, a direct shot across the bow of Kevin Love and though LeBron James did not dispute that when asked about it from media members after an early February practice he did take to Twitter to disavow what he had said “privately” to the coterie of scribes.
What’s the Big Deal?
It seems all a bit trite now that the Cavs have reeled off eight straight up wins over the course of their last 10 games to go along with covering the NBA odds in six of those contests. But let’s face it; didn’t everyone especially those in Cleveland believe that a 56-19 record and the top spot in the Eastern Conference on April 1st would be the domain of the Cavaliers and not the Atlanta Hawks? As of this writing the Cleveland Cavaliers occupy second place with a respectable 48-27 mark but we expected more than respectable. We anticipated an historic, ass-kicking, bucket busting wrecking machine that you would be happy to welcome into your arena just to watch the carnage even if it was your team getting devoured. While there have been glimpses of that degree of domination it hasn’t been consistent. Particularly in light of their recent 87-86 nail biting victory over the 76ers as 17-point NBA odds favorites. Sure the Cavs played without Love but they also played without heart.
When James was asked in a wandering yet comprehensive interview whom were his best friends in the league he immediately responded with Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul. Which begs the question, do you see the same “love” that James had for Wade and even the simpatico he and Chris Bosh exhibited when he toiled in South Beach? You see when the ball is bouncing the right way and victories begin to pile up the notion of team chemistry gets pushed to the rear of the bus. Ah, but when the going gets tough and narrow losses are compounded by blowout defeats then everyone wants to see teams pull together and weather the storm together.
LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are indeed the newest Big Three to land on an NBA stage but if the minor spats off the court metastasize to squabbles on the court then you can begin perusing the NBA playoff odds for another team to back to the Promised Land. And let’s also not forget that Kevin Love is a free agent after this year and like the drama between Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen in Boston or Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard in Los Angeles, those who make NBA picks know that the off-court nonsense can lead to free agents taking their talents elsewhere. The question is will Love keep them together or will Love find a way…out of Cleveland?