The Cleveland Cavaliers loss more than just a game last night in Detroit.
With 7:19 left in the first quarter, Cavaliers All-Star power forward Kevin Love left the game holding his hand. A short time later it was reported Love had suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right hand.
Love’s recovery timetable was set at about 6-8 weeks.
Here's where Kevin Love broke his hand. Major blow to the Cavs… pic.twitter.com/vQeyGmxUZS
— Dime on UPROXX (@DimeUPROXX) January 31, 2018
Prior to suffering the hand injury, Love was having quite the season, averaging 18.2 points, 9.6 rebounds on 46.3 percent shooting from the floor and 40.4 percent from beyond the arc.
After trading Kyrie Irving last August, more of the burden was put on Love to help LeBron keep the team competitive. Love did just that, fitting in with new teammates and did not disappoint.
Love even moved to center this season after Tristan Thompson went down with an injury early in the year. Throughout the last four years Love has changed and evolved for the Cavaliers, while almost never complaining. He has been a productive player for the Cavaliers and the stats back that up. Up to this point in the season Love has appeared in four of Cleveland’s five most-used lineups.
To keep it simple, the Cavaliers want Love on the floor as much as possible.
This is not the first time Love will miss significant time with the Cavaliers, it must be an All-Star curse.
Last season, Kevin Love underwent knee surgery on Feb. 14, causing him to miss the All-Star Game on Feb. 19. This season he breaks his hand on Jan. 30 with the ASG around the corner on Feb. 18.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 31, 2018
One area where the Cavaliers will likely get better is on the defensive end, as it is no secret Love is not a great defensive player. It will be interesting to see who head coach Tyronn Lue replaces Love with in the lineup. Lue has the likely options of Channing Frye, Jae Crowder or Jeff Green. While offense may take a hit, the defense may improve.
But no matter your opinion of Love, the Cavaliers need him on the floor to succeed. Up until today they were already struggling to find consistency. Now Cleveland has to adjust on the fly once again.
Love’s injury also makes a Cavaliers trade more of a necessity. Despite the struggles of the defending three-time Eastern Conference champions, they are still going to make the playoffs. But with Love on the shelf and Isaiah Thomas struggling to find his rhythm, the burden is once again square on LeBron’s shoulders.
Trading for DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams may now happen. Trading for Kemba Walker may happen. Bottom line is that in order for the Cavaliers to succeed without Love, they must make a significant move.
If Cleveland does not make a significant move, they are telling everybody they have punted on the season. This would likely upset everyone involved with the team, including LeBron.
If you have not already heard, James is a free agent at the end of the year. With the team in the condition it is in, James could very well bolt for greener pastures, and who would blame him?
This injury to Love just raises the stakes and the sense of urgency for the front office. The next 8 days will be very telling for the future of the Cavaliers organization.
As seen in recent weeks teammates of Love are not hesitant to point the finger at him or throw him under the bus. Now with Love out, those who were quick to point the finger at him may be second-guessing themselves once they see this Cleveland team without a key piece in the lineup.
Last night during the postgame press conference Lue uttered the phrase “when it rains, it pours” and for the Cavaliers, they are hoping clearer skies are not far off in the distance.