It’s strange for me to think of Kevin Love as anything but young, and I suppose in the grand scheme of things he still is.
But in NBA terms, he’s not young. He was drafted a decade ago, acquired by the Wolves in a swap for O.J. Mayo that remains one of Kevin McHale’s best moves, and traded to Cleveland four summers ago.
His NBA career consists of 10 interesting seasons and two distinct eras: As the face of a constantly rebuilding Wolves team, where he put up massive numbers when healthy; and as a complementary piece with the Cavaliers after joining LeBron in Cleveland via trade following The Decision, Part II.
And now? Love is still in Cleveland as kind of the last man standing, more or less ready to resume his role as the face of a rebuild.
Kyrie Irving went to Boston a year ago. LeBron bolted for the Lakers a few weeks ago. Love? He just agreed to a four-year, $120 million extension with Cleveland. Love, who turns 30 in September, had a year left on his deal. He’ll be approaching 35 when this deal expires.
Love, a five-time All-Star who has averaged 17.1 points in his four seasons with Cleveland, figures to take on more of a primary scoring role again with James out of the picture.
His game should age reasonably well as long as his body holds up, but the deal does bring with it a health dose of skepticism. From SI.com, for instance, there is this:
Love is a consummate pro and likable face of the team who can help bridge the gap toward whatever it is that comes next. But while he’s been admirably consistent as a rebounder and three-point threat and worked himself into incredible shape in this stage of his career, he does little to protect the rim and remains a defensive vulnerability.
Interestingly, Love and the player he was dealt for — Andrew Wiggins — are now under contract for the same length and nearly the same terms. If you were the Wolves, which would you rather have for the next five years?