By agreeing to a deal to acquire Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Cleveland Cavaliers race to remain an elite team is halfway through. The other half? Getting Love to re-sign on a long-term deal. Though Cleveland isn’t an attractive destination for marquee free agents, LeBron james
Sources say the clincher from Cleveland’s perspective, though, was James’ firm belief that he will be able to convince Love to stay as a teammate going into the future, even without a contractual commitment after this year. That made the Cavs more comfortable parting with Wiggins, who is a potential All-Star and would’ve been under contract with the Cavs for at least the next five seasons under much more favorable terms.
During James’ last tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the superstar struggled to recruit elite players to his hometown team due to being low on the destination totem-pole for free agents–in 2010, Bosh refused to join James in Cleveland.
Now, James has a free agent who has expressed some interest in doing so, putting the fourth quarter of negotiations on James’ hands. There isn’t much Dan Gilbert or any other Cavs front office personnel can do here–they can only sell the Love on what he’ll experience in the 2014-15 season. But James can put the nail in the coffin, allowing the two to create a dynamic duo in the Eastern Conference for years. Once you add Kyrie Irving to the equation and James’ job may be easy.
For now, the 2014-15 season will have to play through before anything is agreed to. Until then, James will spend the regular season and postseason attempting Love to join the ride for the long haul.