Kevin Love Finalizing Buyout: Revisiting His Top Three Moments in a Cavaliers Uniform

The Cleveland Cavaliers are finalizing a buyout agreement with Kevin Love, marking the end of an era for Cavs basketball. Here are three of Love's top moments in a Cavaliers uniform.
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Kevin Love Finalizing Buyout: Revisiting His Top Three Moments in a Cavaliers Uniform

The "Big Three" era has officially ended. Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to part ways, marking the end of a roller coaster journey that began nearly a decade ago.

Love was traded to the Cavaliers during the summer of 2014 with the hopes of leading the franchise to a championship alongside Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. Two years later, the three stars did just that, completing the King's promise of bringing a title to Cleveland.

During his time in the Land, Love was constantly featured in trade rumors. He spent years as the odd man out and was relentlessly scapegoated by the fan base whenever things went wrong.

Love, who has openly struggled with mental health issues as a result of the scrutiny, could have asked to be traded or released at any point. He certainly would not have been the first player in NBA history to do so.

But he didn't.

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Love knew it would take incredible sacrifice to fit alongside James and Irving. And he knew he would have to start the process all over again once those two left. He has since outlasted every member of the 2016 championship team.

After what felt like a rock bottom season for Love in 2020-21, he overcome a rocky start to the post-LeBron era and blossomed into one of the most inspiring veterans in the NBA. There is no doubt his guidance played a valuable role in developing this current Cavaliers' core.

It wasn't always all love for Love -- in fact, his time in Cleveland had more than its fair share of lowlights. But the former star fought through it all, delivering a memorable career that won't soon be forgotten as his jersey will surely be hanging from the rafters.

With Kevin heading to a new chapter in his book, this is as good a time as ever to reflect on his nine years with the Cavaliers. Let's count down Love's three best moments in Cleveland.

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Revisiting Kevin Love's Top Three Moments in a Cavaliers Uniform

Kevin Love's masterclass in Washington (2017)

If there is one game that summarizes everything good that Kevin Love brought to the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was his masterclass performance in Washington.

Entering the season as the reigning champions, the Cavs played with a target on their back every night. Perhaps no Eastern Conference team was more eager for a shot at beating the Cavs than the Washington Wizards and John Wall -- who to this day insists could have beaten Cleveland in a playoff series.

That series never came. But what did occur was a bloodbath battle in February 2017.

It was a back-and-forth game with both teams trading blows. Bradley Beal scored 41 points, LeBron James poured in 32 points and 17 assists while John Wall delivered 22 points and 12 assists of his own.

But it was Kevin Love who made the difference. He spaced the floor, drilling 6-10 attempts from deep, and played bully ball in the post, forcing his way to the free throw line for easy buckets.

Love finished with a team-high 39 points and 12 rebounds. Most of all, it was his trademark full-court dime that led to an LBJ buzzer-beater to force overtime. The Cavs would win 140-135 in a massive statement game.

Kevin Love's record-breaking first quarter (2016)

There isn't as much backstory to this one. Kevin Love's first-quarter eruption against Portland was just pure fun.

This game started just as every other one does -- but once Love knocked down his first six shot attempts, it became clear something special was brewing.

The Cleveland crowd became increasingly excited every time Kevin touched the ball. And his teammates made sure to find the hot hand. Love was pouring in buckets from all over, finishing the first quarter with 34 points on 11-14 shooting.

This was the most points scored in a quarter by any player in franchise history and the second most all-time. Love, unfortunately, didn't keep up this insane pace, ending the game with 40 points in 30 minutes -- but it was a performance that no one in attendance will ever forget.

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The Stop (2016)

Before writing this story, I was scrolling through Basketball Reference, expecting to see all of Kevin Love's classic games in Cleveland. Instead, I saw a lot of struggle and even more persistence.

And if there's one word I can use to describe Love's performance in the 2016 NBA Finals, it's persistence.

I would be lying if I said Love played well in the finals. He didn't. For much of the series, he was a fish out of water -- trying to keep up while LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combined for one of the greatest duet performances ever.

It's easy to forget that Love was battling through nagging injuries, including a concussion in Game 2! He averaged just 7.3 points on putrid 34% shooting in games 4-7. But when the team needed him most, he stepped up.

We all know the story. The league's unanimous MVP, Stephen Curry, with the world in his hands against a bumbling, flat-footed defender (Kevin Love) as the only thing standing between him and another championship.

Against all odds, Love slid his feet, stayed in front of Curry, and provided just enough pressure to force a miss. This series-clinching stop was all it took to erase a horrendous few games from Love and deliver a title to the franchise.

Love's time in Cleveland might not have been all roses, but he always dug deep and did what needed to be done. The Cavs don't win a championship without The Stop.

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Other Cleveland Cavaliers News

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  2. Ranking the Top 5 Cleveland Cavaliers Individual Performances Since 2000
  3. Five Bold Predictions for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2023


Tony Pesta graduated from Cleveland State University in 2022 with a degree in journalism. He covers the Cleveland Cavaliers for Fear the Sword and OddsChecker. You can follow him on Twitter at @Tony_Pesta.


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