The NBA of today is as fast-moving as ever. In the last 3-5 years, superstars have switched teams multiple times over, players have teamed up and new talent has emerged. This summer especially, we saw a drastic shift in talent across the league.
With all the movement, names occasionally get forgotten or fly under the radar. Kevin Love is one of them.
Next season will mark Love’s twelfth in the league, five of which he was named an All-Star. The 6’10” big man went from a star in Minnesota to being the third, and incredibly important, wheel for a historic Cavaliers team.
Love has spent the last five years with Cleveland, earning career averages of 18 points and 11 rebounds. When LeBron James made his move to the Lakers last summer, Love did not request a trade from the rebuilding franchise, instead signing a four-year, $120 million extension.
After James departed, the Cavs headed towards a rebuild, despite being saddled with Love’s, Tristan Thompson’s and JR Smith’s big contracts. Smith was waived by the team this week.
Love and the Cavs should be looking for trade possibilities, as the 30-year-old would be better suited on a contender. Despite being injured last season, Love should still have some value on the trade market.
In very limited playing time, he still averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds. In addition to playing in the post, Love is able to stretch the floor and knock down threes, making his skills still very well suited in today’s league.
While his $30 million salary may be unappealing for many teams, Love would provide a good offensive option to a team in need of a front court player. Here are teams on the market that may look to trade for Love.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland, after acquiring Hassan Whiteside from Miami, is reportedly interested in Love’s talents. Whiteside and Love would make for a solid front court, as both average double-digit rebounds. The team has Jusuf Nurkic coming back from injury at some point next season, yet they are still reported to be interested in trading for the Cavaliers star.
Portland would likely give up recent acquisition Kent Bazemore, along with Zach Collins, as well as a young player or a draft pick. Collins put up good numbers in the playoffs, and Bazemore’s deal expires next summer, offering cap relief. A draft pick could be the selling point for the rebuilding Cavs to trade Love.
Love would give the Blazers a solid veteran, but splitting up the minutes between the three bigs could be tricky.
The Heat have been looking to add a second star since signing Jimmy Butler to a max deal. Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul were heavily pursued, but the Paul trade talks appear to have halted. While Love is a solid step behind those two, he would still be a nice addition to the roster.
Miami could send Goran Dragic’s expiring contract, Kelly Olynyk and draft picks to Cleveland in exchange for Love. The Cavs could ask for a young prospect to make the deal more attractive. Justice Winslow could be included in the deal, but that would be a lot to give up for Miami.
A Heat team built around Jimmy Butler and Kevin Love, with a supporting cast of Myers Leonard, Bam Adebayo and Dion Waiters could be interesting. In a weaker Eastern Conference, this Heat team could potentially be a sleeper.
While the chances are slim, the Pistons could be looking at a trade for Love. The team has trade-friendly assets, and are in the market for another star, after failing to land Russell Westbrook. Detroit could make a similar offer to Cleveland.
The Pistons could trade Reggie Jackson’s expiring contract, Tony Snell and draft picks to the Cavs in exchange for Love. The move would hurt the team at the guard position, but would make for a very formidable front court.
Blake Griffin at the three spot with Love at the four and Andre Drummond playing center would be a solid trio. New signee Derrick Rose could start at point guard, making the Pistons very interesting on paper. While depth would be an issue, Detroit has to make these types of moves if they want to compete. Trading for a healthy Love could be a great move for the Pistons, and would move them up the ranks in the conference.
Featured image credited to Getty Images.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.