There hadn't been an NBA game since May 25 prior to Thursday. With the Warriors sweeping the Spurs and the Cavs only needing five games to top the Celtics in the East, we’ve been left with plenty of time to speculate on the NBA Finals series we all knew was coming.
A long absence from watching Lebron James or Stephen Curry allows a question like, “What happens if the Cavaliers lose?” to come to fruition — so let’s speculate.
What if the Cavaliers lose the NBA Finals?
Here are three possible narratives that would follow a Cleveland loss.
NBA FINALS PREDICTION: Who wins Cavs vs. Warriors III?
Blame and trade Kevin Love
If the Cavaliers lose, then someone will have to shoulder the blame.
James won’t considering he’s averaged 32.8/12.3/8.9 against the Warriors during the past two finals and shows no signs of slowing down.
Kyrie Irving won Cleveland its first championship in more than 50 years with this shot last season.
Safe to assume Irving won’t catch much heat if the Cavaliers fail to repeat.
Sure, Tyronn Lue could come under fire, but his job is safe as long as James says it is.
That leaves NBA Twitter’s favorite scapegoat — Kevin Love.
Love is playing his best basketball since joining Cleveland. He made his first All-Star team since 2014 and is averaging a career-high 17.2 points on 45.7 percent shooting in the playoffs, while shooting 47.5 percent from three.
Prior to Love’s storybook stop against Curry in the closing minute of Game 7 last year, he was a defensive liability against the Warriors and averaged only 8.5 points per game on 36.2 percent shooting.
In Cleveland’s two games against the Warriors this season, Love failed to prove he can consistently defend anyone outside of Zaza Pachulia, David West or JaVale McGee. When facing Draymond Green, Kevin Durant or Andre Iguodala, Love’s foot speed on the perimeter is too slow.
If the Cavs lose, be prepared for the Love trade rumors to ramp up again. Carmelo Anthony chatter will pick up around Cleveland again if the team fails to win back-to-back titles, not to mention rumors surrounding LeBron's close friend Dwyane Wade.