After much speculation about will they or won't they, the Cleveland Cavaliers retained Kevin Love at the NBA trade deadline with the belief that they are better with him than without him. Love has struggled with consistency since arriving in Cleveland and that has kept his name in the trade rumor mill, but as he stays put, LeBron James believes the forward will be the team's x-factor.
The Cavaliers are beginning their second-half of the season with a few wins including one over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Love was critical in that game as the forward put up 29 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Love was the leader for the team in a matchup that could be a preview to a potential NBA Finals showdown. After dealing with a shoulder injury before the All-Star break, James told the media that having Love play like that will be critical for the playoffs.
"Just his aggressiveness," James said, via ESPN.com. "His aggressiveness and his mentality. From grabbing rebounds, to he went to the [foul] line 10 times. So that lets me know he was very aggressive on the offensive end and every single time we needed something, we went to him. And he answered the call."
Love's time in Cleveland has certainly been heavily debated as the forward has struggled to find his niche with the team. However, those struggles were not enough to force the team to deal him, but that could become an option if the Cavaliers fail to win a championship. For now, Love stressed that he is happy to be with the Cavaliers as they focus on getting to the playoffs.
"The same thing was said last year, but the fact is, you guys are stuck with me, so I'm here," Love said, via WKYC.com. "I'm happy to be here and I want to win...This is who we're going to roll with and at the end of the day, this is what we've got, so now we have to continue to get better and move forward and just come closer together as best we can."
Along with Love, Channing Frye is expected to be the final missing piece to the playoff puzzle. The team acquired Frye at the deadline. However, he has yet to make his debut with Cleveland. According to ESPN.com, Frye has not suited up for the Cavaliers yet as he has yet to pass the medical exams. The team is not concerned about this being a lingering issue, but it does delay when Frye will get on the court.