Carson: Cavaliers revive hope in Cleveland
Alex Carson | Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Heartbreak is in my blood. I was born in the summer of 1995 in northeast Ohio. Three months and two days later, the Cleveland Indians lost the World Series in six games after posting baseball’s best regular season winning percentage in 41 years. And at the ripe age of two, I sat in front of the television screen as José Mesa took the hill to try and close out game seven of the World Series and get the Indians that elusive title.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Mesa blew the save. The Curse of Rocky Colavito lived on. It joined The Catch (the baseball one), Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Move and later, of course, The Decision amongst the most unfortunate incidents in Cleveland’s sports history.
But the point of all this isn’t to prove that Cleveland fans are more tortured than everyone else — though we are. It’s to try to better understand the dynamic that has led to the series of events bringing Kevin Love to the Cavaliers in what is undoubtedly one of the biggest trades in NBA history. Love probably is the best big man in the game right now, but giving up Andrew Wiggins in addition to Anthony Bennett and a first-round selection is a lot for a player whose contract is expiring at the end of this upcoming season.
Andrew Wiggins is the guy that’s been hyped up for quite some time as the next great NBA player. He has been compared to LeBron James, and he’s one of the most athletic players that has come into the league for quite a while. Plus, you have to imagine that Wiggins would’ve reached his full potential under the tutelage of King James. He’d potentially set the Cavaliers up to become one of the NBA’s dynasties with LeBron passing the torch to him in a few years to carry on the winning tradition.
But here’s the issue with Wiggins — LeBron is turning 30 this December. And for all of the potential that Wiggins possesses, it’s just that — potential. For Wiggins to grow into a player that’s as good as Kevin Love is now, it’s likely going to take him somewhere in the ballpark of five years. By then, LeBron’s going to be on the cusp of turning 35, likely out of his prime. Cleveland is a city that hasn’t brought home a title for 50 years and 156 consecutive seasons of major professional sports, and while the thought of being a title contender for 10 or 15 years with Wiggins around sounds appealing, Cleveland is a city that would go absolutely crazy for just one.
I mean, let’s consider something here. If the Cavs were to take home the 2015 NBA title, Matthew Dellavedova would almost certainly have free drinks waiting for him in the 216 for the rest of his life. Guys like Kenny Lofton and Omar Vizquel are treated as minor — maybe even major — prophets in the “religion” of Cleveland sports, and those guys couldn’t win the all-important championship. So, knowing that, imagine the type of reaction Johnny Manziel would get if he led the city’s beloved Browns to a Super Bowl crown.
With all that said, it’s been a fun summer. LeBron came home; Cleveland went crazy, and then Kevin Love showed up at the party. And it’s a move that shows the Cavaliers are all in to win a title. Sure, owner Dan Gilbert and GM Chris Grant could’ve waited around, allowed Wiggins and Anthony Bennett to prosper and used the three first-round picks they had for next year to add even more youth to the lineup, but they didn’t. The Cavaliers are out to get Cleveland its title now, not later. And that’s why this trade makes all the sense in the world.
One title. That’s all I’m asking for.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.