Cleveland Cavaliers fans no longer have to use the words “reportedly,” “agreed upon” or “unofficially official.” They no longer have to worry about another team sneaking in to steal away the monster trade which has been on the table for the past two weeks. There’s no need to get nervous about the deal falling through.
It’s official, now: Kevin Love is a Cavalier.
Despite the news breaking a couple weeks ago, the deal itself couldn’t be finalized until today, thanks to the 30-day no-trade window in rookie Andrew Wiggins‘ contract. Because of this, there was a high amount of cautious optimism in Cleveland. It wasn’t helped when word came out the Minnesota Timberwolves would possibly back off the trade if the Golden State Warriors offered Klay Thompson, or when yesterday news broke the Phoenix Suns were proposing a sign-and-trade with Love for Eric Bledsoe.
And now all of that is meaningless. Love is on board, and the Cavaliers offseason has officially become historic.
Where Cleveland was at one point rumored to be targeting players like Gordon Hayward or Trevor Ariza, they now have Love to pair with Kyrie Irving and, of course, the newly returned LeBron James. What was at one point seen as a season where the Cavs were hoping to end their playoff drought now is laced with championship expectations.
Barring any additional minor moves — looking at you, Ray Allen — the final piece of the puzzle has been added. Cleveland’s offseason has taken shape, and now the real work begins.
Now, superstars James, Love and Irving will begin developing the on-court chemistry needed to ensure such high-caliber players can function at a championship level. Now, new coach David Blatt can start putting together game plans to utilize his new and improved roster. In his first year in the NBA, Blatt has been given a team coaches dream about, but he now has to ensure he can fulfill the high expectations which come with it.
Players like Irving and Dion Waiters, once saddled with the duty of merely leading the Cavs to the postseason, now must learn to play alongside two of the league’s best players, and do so with incredibly increased pressure to win. Last year, they won 33 games. This year, they’ve been labeled “championship or bust.”
As for James, the team he signed with back on July 11 has drastically improved. He’s played with a “big three” before, and knows what it takes to make it work. It’s up to him to take what he learned with the Miami Heat, and implement it with the Cavs. His goal, as he himself stated, is to bring a title to his hometown. He now has a team built to help him accomplish it.
Today is another huge day in Cleveland’s monumental offseason, and as amazing as the ride has been so far, it’s merely just the setup. Fans can celebrate the decorated acquisitions the Cavs have made in the past few months, but they all know the real task is making it work and winning a title.
The pieces are finally in place. It’s time to get to work.