The Lakers stand to have significant spending power this summer, with hopes of landing big-name players in free agency.
That flame seemed to be extinguished when the Cavaliers acquired Love in August for guard Andrew Wiggins (the first overall pick in 2014), forward Anthony Bennett (first overall in 2013) and another first-round pick.
Cleveland would certainly run away with the weaker Eastern Conference, or so it seemed before the season started.
Instead the sixth-place Cavaliers entered Staples Center on Thursday night with a 19-20 record. Love is finding the adjustment from top star on a perennial lottery team, to the third option behind forward LeBron James and guard Kyrie Irving isn't as easy as hoped.
"I spent the last six years in Minnesota. This is a different dynamic," Love said Thursday.
"I knew I'd have to sacrifice because LeBron is the best player in the world, a guy who is going to handle the ball a lot, make a lot of big plays for us," he said. "Kyrie is kind of the same thing. [He] has the ball in his hand a lot [and] is a great scorer. So for me, I just try to go out there and be efficient and consistent."
Love was averaging 17.7 points a game before Thursday, down from 26.1 a year ago with the Timberwolves.
"Consistency hasn't quite been there. My role is evolving and changing, but I just try to fit in as best I can to help this team win," he said.
Love can opt out of the $16.7-million final year of his contract. If he does, the Lakers will probably have a call into his agent at 9:01 p.m. on June 30 — the official start of free agency.
Lakers Coach Byron Scott empathized with Love's adjustment.
"It's probably not what he thought it would be. He's so used to being that guy and now he has to take on a different role," Scott said before the game. "Mentally, I don't really know what's going on in Kevin's mind but I do know this — that he's still a hell of a basketball player and we've got to think about how we're to face him."
Love put the onus on himself.
"I don't want to be in any way a detriment or a problem with this team," he said. "It's on me to continue to get better. I think everything will change if we get back in the win column."