Can Kevin Love be the missing piece for the Nets?
Earlier this week, Kyrie Irving made his return to the Brooklyn Nets. After a 26 game absence, he exploded on the Atlanta Hawks, shooting 10 for 11 from the field for 21 points. He followed up his performance with a 32 point outing against Utah. However, his high performance didn’t last, as he only managed to drop 14 points against the 76ers, his team falling in the process. With the losses this week, the Nets fell to the eight seed in the East. Irving is convinced that the team is falling because the Nets are missing a piece.
The Missing Piece
It’s hard to imagine how a team comprised of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving could be lacking something. However, he isn’t wrong. This season, both of the team’s star players suffered from injuries. Irving’s absence was much shorter than Durant’s, who has yet to suit up for Brooklyn. In the interim, the Nets fell in the standings without both of their players. Despite the efforts of Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, and DeAndre Jordan, the Nets continued to fall. The issue is that the team doesn’t know where to turn when all else is failing.
Reliability is key in this game. Even looking at the Golden State Warriors in seasons past, the team didn’t lack offensive and defensive options at any given time. When healthy, the team had at least four scorers available at all times. Now, of course, the Nets can win without a definitive third star. Yet, such a player would make the game easier. That way, even if Irving and Durant are injured, Brooklyn can still remain afloat. Thus, if they still plan on making a playoff run this season, it may be time for Brooklyn to make a trade. There is one name that the Nets need to strongly consider: Kevin Love.
What’s Love Got to do with it?
Of course, there are notable concerns with trading for Love. For one, he is as injury prone as Irving and Durant. If all three are hurt at the same time, the Nets will be in the same position. On the other hand, Brooklyn would have to consider who they would actually be willing to give up for Love. Unless the Cavaliers are just willing to cut ties by any means possible, they will likely be looking for a trade partner who can make them a genuine offer. Of course, the Nets aren’t lacking options or picks to trade. However, the balancing will be how much to give up for a veteran big man?
There is also the consideration if the Nets can take on Love’s contract. Signing an $120 million extension back in 2018, Love still has over two years left on his deal. Figuring out how to make the money work would be a challenge all it’s own. Lastly, there is a concern that we have seen this before. A trio involving Love and Irving is reminiscent of the former Cleveland Big 3 that included LeBron James. In fact, it was that Big 3 that fell to Durant and the Warriors in the finals. So, with all the projected problems, why should the Nets pursue this trade?
Love and Basketball
If the Nets can make the money work, Love would be a sensible option for Brooklyn to pursue. His frustration at remaining in Cleveland is palpable. He wants a new place to call home and a new team to play for. Brooklyn can be be that team. Aside from being former teammates with Irving, Love checks several boxes. For one, his deep range would open the floor for spacing and give the Nets more scoring in and around the perimeter. Additionally, his rebounding prowess has been one of the most consistent parts of his game. Moreover, his ability to defend the paint also cannot be ignored. His talent isn’t really a question in the balancing of this trade. The question remaining is can he work? The answer is yes.
In the short term, the team will have to find a way into the playoffs without Durant. Love can helm them do that. As a running mate for Irving, Love would alleviate some of the burden on the point guard’s shoulders. Additionally, if the chemistry from Cleveland carries over, Irving and Love should have no problem getting in sync. Moreover, with Love in the fold, the team wouldn’t have to search for a third scoring option. As discussed earlier, he has the offensive prowess to lift the Nets on nights when the team is struggling. Lastly, as a former champion, he has the experience to help Brooklyn make a playoff run. In the long term, if he remains up until Kevin Durant’s return, the combination of talent would be extremely problematic for most defenses. Thus, the Nets stand to gain by adding Love.
Irving’s point is notable and accurate. To remain competitive, the Nets need to add another piece who can compliment the team as a while. Given the talents of Kevin Love, he would be a reasonable and worthwhile pursuit for the Brooklyn Nets. Of course, the concerns remain. However, when the reward is an NBA championship, the risks may be as good as outweighed.
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