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PBT Extra: Does Kevin Love to Cavaliers make them title favorites?

Aug 7, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

Cleveland won big this summer. First LeBron James decided to return and now Kevin Love is set to be traded to the Cavaliers on Aug. 23 in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a future first round pick.

Does this make the Cavaliers the favorites to win the NBA title next year? (Not in my book.) Is this a win-win for Minnesota and Cleveland? (I’m not sure I’d call this a win for Minnesota, just not a bad loss.)

All of these are topics myself and Jenna Corrado cover in the lastest edition of PBT Extra.

  1. shadowgamesshades - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    No, they have no depth and their defense seems bad. The only one who will play defense on Cleveland is Lebron. Kyrie and Love are terrible defenders.

    • jeffkx - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:58 PM

      Agree on the lack of defense but to say the Cavs will have no depth is not your best moment.

    • antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      Take LeBron off the 2010 Cavs and their defense was bad. Put LeBron back on it and it’s a top 7 defense. LeBron James is not going to be on a bad defensive team.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        I want to agree with you that the Cavs won’t be that bad, but you are aware that the Spurs just set the all time record for offensive efficiency in a Finals series, right? Now I give them tons of credit for that… but Miami was awful defensively.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        If they were “awful” defensively they wouldn’t have been in the Finals. They weren’t awful defensively.

        And they were solid defensively in the first 2 games – well, at least with LeBron on the floor. So we’re only talking about 3 games where the Heat were overwhelmed by the Spurs offensive efficiency. They were fine over the other 99 games they played in 2013-14.

      • redbaronx - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        @anti – LeBron doesn’t play five positions. He didn’t play 5 positions with the Heat, and he won’t with the Cavs either. The Cavs need to focus on getting depth and defensive capability at the 4 and 5 spots if they want to compete for a title.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:54 PM

        He absolutely did play 5 positions with the Heat. He’s spent entire quarters at center, at least defensively. They used him at center often.

        The Cavs are already competing for a title.

      • redbaronx - Aug 9, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        @anti – Nice way to avoid the comment. LeBron is not 5 GUYS. LeBron can’t defend 5 players at once.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        Oh, I didn’t know that’s what you were saying. Okay, let me go back and re-read your comment. BRB.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:57 PM

        “@anti – LeBron doesn’t play five positions. He didn’t play 5 positions with the Heat, and he won’t with the Cavs either. The Cavs need to focus on getting depth and defensive capability at the 4 and 5 spots if they want to compete for a title.”

        Anderson Varejao is an All-Defensive player (2010). Kevin Love is an above-average defender according to Kevin Pelton vs RPM. LeBron is obviously a great defender.

        So it looks like Cleveland is all set there with great defense on their front line.

      • redbaronx - Aug 10, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        @anti – It’s yet to be seen how many minutes Verajao is going to be on the floor. He’s an offensive liability. Kevin Love is certainly not an above average defender AT HIS POSITION.

        That’s not to say that he can’t improve, or that the Cavs can’t become a good defensive team. Having LeBron cures a lot.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 10, 2014 at 6:59 PM

        Varejao is fine offensively with LeBron. They play well together. LeBron knows how to get him easy buckets. Plus, I expect Blatt to use a lot of LeBron and Love at the 4 and 5 with shooters and to play very fast.

      • redbaronx - Aug 10, 2014 at 10:43 PM

        @anti – You just reinforced my point. I also expect Blatt to use a lot of LeBron and Love at the 4 and 5. That’s going to limit Verajao’s minutes on the floor, which is exactly what I said before.

        Bottom line is if the Cavs want to be champs, they’re going to have to get better on D in the 2 and 3 spots, in overall bench depth, and hope Blatt and staff can make the unit work better than last year.

        Like I said before, LeBron can’t play all 5 spots at once. His minutes were stretched too much in Miami and it showed in the Finals. The Cavs are going to need enough depth to make sure LeBron doesn’t wear himself out.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 10, 2014 at 11:22 PM

        LeBron actually can kind of play 5 positions at once… instructing the defense while he’s on the floor, making sure everyone stays on a string.

        I’m not worried about the Cavs defense. They should be a pretty good defensive team right out of the gate and end up one of the top 10 defenses eventually.

      • redbaronx - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:43 PM

        @anti – I don’t know if you just purposely miss other peoples remarks or what. The issue isn’t whether the Cavs will have a good defense. If your contention is that they’ll be a championship caliber defense, that isn’t reality. The Cavs don’t have any more talent on their roster than Miami did. If they meet another well rounded team like the Spurs that uses a lot of ball movement, they’re going to be in trouble.

        LeBron can’t play 5 positions at once unless he could replicate himself. Which as far as I know cloning hasn’t happened yet.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        The Cavs do have more talent, especially with Love. Or that is to say they have more talent in the places where it’s needed around LeBron – meaning Love and Irving fit a lot better with James, which should make that team better.

        And what do you think the Cavs are going to be doing on offense? Standing around? They’re going to be the well rounded team with a lot of ball movement. Their offense should be unstoppable in a way that Miami’s never was because you could always hem up the Heat’s 2nd option just by keeping him out of the lane, and Bron was always Miami’s best rebounder, which didn’t help things.

        I do think the Cavs will have a championship caliber defense because I do believe they will win the championship this year – that is, if the Love trade happens.

      • redbaronx - Aug 12, 2014 at 9:26 AM

        – Uh…we were talking about defense. Not offense. Offense is not going to be the Cavs issue.

    • apkyletexas - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:31 PM

      Let’s just say that there’s nothing about this lineup besides LeBron that I think the Spurs, Thunder or Clippers will be fearing. Or Chicago for that matter.

      • lbeezyse - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        Not sure your rational, but Love led the Wolves to a fair amount of wins against the Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers the past couple years. Add in Bron, Irving, Thompson, and Vary and I don’t really get your point.

        I am a Wolves fan, but I see the Cavs rolling through the East. The Spurs and Thunder will be a good opponent for them. I still think the West wins the next couple titles.

      • apkyletexas - Aug 7, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        The Wolves were 2-9 vs the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers last year. They won one game at the start of the season against the Thunder without Westbrook, and one game at the end of the season against the Spurs who didn’t play Parker. So yeah – no Western power is worried about Kevin Love in a seven game finals matchup.

      • redbaronx - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        @apkyletexas – You and the people responding to you are going extreme.

        First of all Love and Irving are going to attract attention. On the flip side for those who think suddenly the Cavs are contenders, you did have a point. The Cavs as a TEAM will have to improve defensively.

  2. sportsfan18 - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    To me, it doesn’t matter if they are the favorites or not.

    They will be one of the top teams. Many things can and will happen during the course of the season.

    Out West, the Spurs and the Thunder are at the top, others are very good too but those two are at the top to me.

    In the East, it’s the Bulls and the Cavs at the top.

    Whether the Cavs are the favorite or only the 2nd or 3rd favorite is meaningless.

    Besides, the supposed #1 team doesn’t always win it all anyway.

    • bkbell3 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      Right, who knows who gets hot at the right time. It wasn’t that long ago the spurs lost as a number one seed to an eight seed. The spurs lost home court to the heat in the first 2 games then got historically hot at the right time and everything clicked for them. The clippers are flawed and couldn’t get out of the second round and i don’t see them at this time as a contender. Maybe they put it all together this year. There is also something missing from okc also. Some of it is coaching and some of it is depth and the rest, who knows? As they say, that’s why you play the games.

  3. chicagosports2014 - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    can’t believe Lebron got grown men all on his nutz.


    • sportsfan18 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:37 PM

      nah, there’s only one… Anti…

      the others will be waiting a long time…

  4. antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    Most people will have them as favorites, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to win it all this year. But if you put that much talent around LeBron – a ring is going to come out of it at some point.

    • apkyletexas - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:06 PM

      You would think so. I think he would benefit more in the long run from working with a guy like Wiggins than a guy like Love.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:35 PM

        He’d benefit in the long run by working with a guy who can grab 12 boards and game and has led the league in rebounding.

  5. loungefly74 - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    what does Vegas say? they are usually right. anyway, yeah, I’d put them at the top to come out of the east…and eventually win the title.

  6. nsstlfan - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    I’m not a fan of basketball and never have I been, so I would laugh my rear end off if behind the scenes the Timberwolves are negotiating with another team for Love. Then on August 22nd they announce that trade. I could see one team telling another team yeah we like your package and he is your’s when everyone is eligible to be traded, only to keep said team at bay. Why they’d agree to a trade almost two weeks before they can do it is beyond me.

    • blueintown - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      I’m not a fan of commenting on blogs, yet here I am. Weird, amiright?

  7. honkerdawg - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    If the League operates as it usually does, and they usually do and they want the Cavs to be champions and they do for great PR then it will be so no matter who plays better.

    • redbaronx - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      @honkerdawg – Seriously? Like the League wanted Detroit to be champs over the Lakers, or for Dallas to win. Drop the conspiracy theories and come back to the real world!

  8. realfootballfan - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    I’m going to take note of all the fools who say yes in 5 years when this group is ringless. The Bosch max in Miami was bad business. This is worse on so many levels.

  9. kingperk123 - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Idk it depends do they have good defense do they. Have a good rim protector meaning a center I mean they have the #2 best point guard in the NBA but I wouldn’t say they are the favorites for the tittle I mean there is OKC CLIPPERS stepping up plus the champs SPURS! But they are not the favoritens yet….plus will love and James and Irving play well together??

    • blueintown - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:18 PM


  10. jkaflagg - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    The East should be a walkover for the Cavs, unless Derrick Rose comes back huge….and they would have a shot against whomever came out of the West, since that team will need to battle through tough opponents just to get to the Final…..

    The Cavs may start slowly as the players get to know one another (like the first year of the big three in Miami), but as they gel the talent will take over.

    • bougin89 - Aug 7, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      I agree. The playoffs will be new for Love and Irving as well. Even if they don’t win it all this year that doesn’t mean they won’t be at least in the mix for the next few years as long as the new “big three” is together. They do have a ton of talent.

  11. jzone954 - Aug 7, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    Favorites in the east.

  12. seasickcecil - Aug 7, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    LOVE it.

  13. lazegowizfan95 - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Lol no because the Wizards, Bulls exist.

  14. csbanter - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    This upcoming season will be a failure if the Cavs don’t win the NBA title. They have 3 of the top 15 players in the NBA.

    • naterich21 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:35 PM

      I don’t know about Kyrie. Let’s push that to top 25

    • redbaronx - Aug 10, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      @csbanter – Keep in mind that Miami could have made that claim in the year they lost to Dallas. It’s not just a matter of who’s got the best players. It’s “who has the best team?” The Spurs reminded us of that last year. So before you start calling the Cavs a failure, remember that there are other TEAMS trying to win a ring.

  15. jacobk621 - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    I’ll give them 2 years before they win a title ,, gonna take some time to get the kinks out and gel together

  16. buffalo65 - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:41 PM


  17. mungman69 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    Watch out for the wizards.

  18. seasickcecil - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:35 AM

    Of course he does. Kevin & Kyrie!

  19. seasickcecil - Aug 8, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    @JoeScalzo1: Outstanding: Kevin Love Jersey Burning – Minnesota Nice Style: via @YouTube

  20. 1509lucky - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Even with LeBron,And Love,NOBODY in The West is shaking in their boots about The Cavs.

  21. ndrick731 - Aug 8, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    James just once again proving he needs others to take the pressure off him. And before I hear he didn’t make the trade think about why he signed a short contract. So if management doesn’t do what he wants he trots off to whoever will let him have his way.

  22. kavika6 - Aug 8, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    Love is a drama queen that has never played a playoff game in his career. Stop giving him so much credit. Even in the pathetic eastern conference Love isn’t going to change anything.

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