Love did wear a Cleveland hat in this Instagram photo shortly after his shoulder surgery.

On his Grantland podcast The Lowe Post, Zach Lowe recently spoke with Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.  Windhorst has been covering the Cavs ever since LeBron James' return.  Among other things, their topics of discussion included Kevin Love's future in Cleveland, or lack thereof (Love has a player option for $16.7 million next year).  Here are some quotes from the conversation:

Lowe: "The Love thing is real."
Windhorst: "Every executive I talk to, every agent I talk to, every quasi insider, every girlfriend's cousin's sister's boyfriend all says this guy is out of there."
Lowe: "I hear the same thing from everybody. From everyone that is two or three or four steps removed. I don't quite believe all of that."
Windhorst: "I agree."
Lowe: "Part of what's going on there is the Lakers' boogeyman. They don't just say he's out of there, they say 'He's going to the Lakers.' I think that has as much to do with the fear people have of the Lakers as it does with Kevin Love."
Windhorst: "Honestly Zach, I can't get a read on Kevin. ... His personality is a little bit different than many players I've covered. He has at every turn even gone out of his way to make statements about how he intends to remain in Cleveland."

Lowe also points out that it's silly to believe public statements, noting Danny Ainge's constant remarks about not being interested in dealing Rajon Rondo.  Windhorst goes on to mention his surprise at how little Love has been involved with the team since his surgery:

It just seems like a guy who's never gone through a playoff run before would want to be around this team as much as possible, and he's just not.  I don't even know where he is right now to be honest with you. ... I'm having a very difficult time getting a read on this.

These playoffs are proving to be a very difficult conundrum for Love.  The Cavs sweep of the top-seeded Hawks implies that they're doing just fine without him.  If Cleveland loses in the Finals, it seems unlikely at this point people will blame the loss on Love's absence.  And if the Cavs win the title, won't Love be the forgotten man?

Either way, it appears he's not vital to the club's success, and that has to be a very discouraging feeling--one that can't help but hurt his chances of sticking around in Cleveland.

Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan

Mark Van Deusen 5/27/2015 02:30:00 PM Edit
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