Sports

The Nightmare Scenario for the Cleveland Cavaliers is Getting Real

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love talks with a teammate during an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Cleveland. The surging Cleveland Cavaliers visit Minnesota on Saturday for the first time since they acquired Kevin Love from the Timberwolves in the summer blockbuster deal.  (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
In this Jan. 28, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love talks with a teammate during an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

 

(Yahoo) – All season long a nightmare scenario has loomed for Cleveland: that Love would leave in free agency in the summer of 2015 and the Cavs, with cap space already taken up with other players, wouldn’t be able to replace him.

That scenario seemed unlikely back in August, when the NBA world salivated at the prospect of a Love-LeBron-Kyrie offensive juggernaut. But as the season has gone on it has come closer and closer to reality.

On a basketball level, Love has been an awkward fit. He has been marginalized within the offense. The multiplicity of offensive weapons that he used in Minnesota — getting to the free throw line, posting up, hitting mid-range jumpers, stretching the defense with three-pointers — has been reduced to a single function. He’s now a “stretch-four” who’s role it is to stand on the perimeter and wait for open three-pointers. To make weird analogy, he’s like a Swiss army knife that’s being used exclusively as a toothpick.

He’s clearly frustrated by this. In an ominous quote, he told Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com that he doesn’t like being a stretch-four:

“I heard some people calling me that but I know I’m not a stretch-four. I’m a post player that can shoot. Right now I’m just doing what I’m called to do. For good, bad or indifferent, I’m playing my role and doing what’s asked of me. Tonight, I stayed out on the perimeter.”

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