You really can’t follow Cleveland sports without nervously keeping an eye on upcoming free agency periods. There was LeBron James during his first tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Albert Belle and Jim Thome leaving the Cleveland Indians, and numerous other big name players who fled the city for what they believed were greener pastures.
So, anytime a star player on a Cleveland team is approaching the end of his contract, it’s only natural for fans to begin panicking. Right now, said player is Cavs forward Kevin Love.
As everyone knows by now, Love can opt out of his deal with Cleveland this summer. If he does, it goes without saying numerous teams will come calling in attempts to woo him into joining their respective roster. And, as has been reported often, Love apparently had difficulties fitting in with his role as third scoring option after James and Kyrie Irving this year. With all of this, common thought among the rumor mill is Love wants out of Cleveland, despite his claiming this past January he wants to stick around.
Well, clearly this is a scenario which could really use a “Woj-bomb,” a.k.a. a juicy rumor given by Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski, and today we got just that.
During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Wojnarowski claimed there is “legitimate fear” within the Cavs organization Love may leave as a free agent this summer. Wojnarowski goes on to claim he believes Love has been looking at free agency all year, as he wasn’t able to adjust to his new role the way Chris Bosh did when he played with James on the Miami Heat. Unfortunately, Cleveland’s best shot, he believes, was having Love contribute in a long playoff run, something which derailed thanks to season-ending shoulder surgery.
Buckle in, Cavs fans, the Love rumors are only going to get crazier as free agency nears.
Regardless, how do we go about evaluating Wojnarowski’s latest tidbit?
Look, I’ve gone on about my thoughts of Love’s situation, and why I believe his best choice is to opt back in. I also know, without a shadow of a doubt, you’re going to hear more and more about Love’s desire to bail. Even though Love said he wanted to opt back in with the Cavs over the winter, things always change. Remember, James once said his goal was to win Cleveland a title and he wasn’t going to leave until he did it. This, of course, was said before he joined the Heat.
It’s only natural the Cavs would fear losing Love. After giving up Rookie of the Year winner Andrew Wiggins in order to bring Love in, Cleveland obviously is going to get nervous about the idea of him leaving after selling so much to acquire him. I imagine they’ll be anxious about the whole situation until Love decides to opt in.
At the same time, has Love really done or said anything which would give you even the slightest idea of how he’s feeling on his place with the team?
Yes, early on he said he was struggling at getting used to things. However, this was obviously to be expected after the adjustment he was asked to make. And, this is hardly an example of him saying he’s unhappy in Cleveland. Since that point, he continued going on about how the team was going to figure everything out, which they did en route to becoming one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Honestly, a lot of the things said about Love could be painted as conjecture, mainly because he doesn’t really wear his emotions on his sleeve. He’s not known as someone whose current mood can easily be figured out, instead continually being described as an introvert. So, gauging his thoughts on the season and the upcoming summer isn’t exactly an easy task.
You could note, though, the source of this latest rumor is a big reason to believe it. Anyone who follows the NBA knows how plugged in Wojnarowski is. There’s a reason the term Woj-bomb even exists, and it’s because his tweets on trades and things of this nature typically end up being true.
At the same time, he doesn’t exactly bat 1.000 when it comes to the gossip he writes. In an excellent piece by Kevin Draper of New Republic, numerous swings and misses by Wojnarowski are brought up. Some of the biggest appear to be from his covering of James’ free agency.
In 2010, Wojnarowski wrote a week before James left for Miami that the Chicago Bulls were the “team to beat” in vying for his services. Last February, Wojnarowski wrote a long column about how Cleveland had blown its chance at getting James back. As we know, this was essentially disproven five months later.
I’m not trying to smear Wojnarowski, just pointing out the fact even the top writers get it wrong some of the time.
So, my advice to Cavs fans would be to take this latest Love rumor with a grain of salt. He may leave in free agency despite my reasoning for why he should stay in Cleveland. But until Love actually makes any sort of statement on the matter, we really won’t know for sure how this is going to play out.