The Cleveland Cavaliers are open to trading just about anyone on their roster, and Kevin Love is the player that should interest contending teams the most. If the Cavs don’t lower their asking price, however, a deal involving Love may not happen.
The Cavs could have a difficult time trading Love because of both his contract and what the team wants in return for him, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic reports. Cleveland is reportedly seeking a first-round pick in any trade for Love, but interested teams may actually want the Cavs to include a first-round pick in the deal to entice the acquiring team to absorb the 3 1/2 years and more than $90 million remaining on Love’s contract.
One executive told Lloyd that he believes the Cavs will eventually get a first-round pick for Love as long as they are willing to take back a significant amount of salary. Cleveland would have to get creative if they go that route, as they have no salary cap space and do not want to dip into the luxury tax again.
Teams can’t even begin trading players until Dec. 15, and the deadline is Feb. 6. That means there is plenty of time to work out a deal for Love, and the asking price could come down significantly as the deadline nears. Keeping Love on the roster makes little sense for Cleveland in their current rebuilding phase.
Kevin Love wants to be traded to a contender if the Cleveland Cavaliers finally decide to move on from him, and his hometown team is reportedly at the top of his wish list.
Love has his sights set on playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports. Love was born in Santa Monica, but he grew up Lake Oswego, Ore., which located just minutes from the heart of Portland. He played at Lake Oswego High School and led the team to the state championship game in 2005.
The Blazers may not be considered a contender at 9-15, but Love could potentially make them one. Portland has been impacted by several injuries, including those to big men Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins. Nurkic broke his leg last March and is expected to return later this season, and he and Love could compliment each other nicely with Love’s ability to stretch the floor and knock down shots from outside.
O’Connor notes that the Blazers have the expiring contracts to make a potential Love trade work. Hassan Whiteside ($27.1 million) and Kent Bazemore ($19.3 million) are both in the final year of their current deals, so one or both could be unloaded to allow Portland to take on Love’s $30 million salary.
Love has expressed a desire to remain in Cleveland even in the second post-LeBron James era, but the Cavs are one of the worst teams in the NBA with their 5-18 record. Love is averaging 15.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game and has shown that he is still capable of playing at a high level, so he should have plenty of suitors.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are planning to listen to trade offers for Kevin Love when teams can begin trading players on Dec. 15, and it is not exactly a surprise that the All-Star big man does not want to join another rebuilding team.
Love wants to be traded to a contending team if the Cavs move him, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. Several teams are expected to be interested in Love, but Charania notes that the trade market may develop slowly between Dec. 15 and the deadline on Feb. 6. Some potential suitors could opt to wait to see if they remain in the playoff hunt over the next two months or so before trying to make a major move like acquiring Love.
Love signed a four-year, $120 million deal with the Cavs after LeBron James left to join the Los Angeles Lakers. He knew he was going to become probably the best player on a rebuilding team filled with younger guys, but he said he wanted to remain in Cleveland even if LeBron left. His name was thrown around in trade rumors before the Cavs ultimately decided to try to build around him, and that has not panned out.
Injuries have been an issue with Love over the past few years, as he has not played in more than 60 games in each of the past three seasons. However, he is averaging 16.1 points and 10.5 rebounds through 18 games this season, and there should be plenty of demand for a big man who can knock down outside shots.
“I’m told that Cleveland is ready now to listen to offers on Kevin Love as we get to that December 15 date and then the February trade deadline,” Woj reported.
Woj described Love as a player who will be in demand.
Love is in the first year of a 4-year, $120 million deal. He has not played in more than 60 regular season games the past three seasons as he’s dealt with injuries. He only played in 21 games last season due to a foot injury. But Love has played in 17 games this season and is averaging 16.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He’s a big man who can shoot from the outside and rebound, which is still a valuable commodity in the league.
Kevin Love has dedicated much of his personal life to raising awareness about mental health issues since he opened up about his own struggles with anxiety and depression over a year ago, and the Cleveland Cavaliers star shed some more light on his decision to do so this week.
Love was a guest on HBO’s “The Shop,” and he said he “got to the lowest point of my life” during the 2017-28 season. It was around that time that ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan asked him about some rumblings that he was having issues, which he said he initially fluffed off and tried to keep to himself. However, he later decided that he didn’t want anyone else telling his story for him.
Kevin Love seems almost like a forgotten figure in the NBA, likely because of how little he played last season. But for teams that do not make the free agent addition they want this summer, he could be an excellent trade option.
Love signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension last summer that begins this season. He is owed $28.9 million in the first and last year of his deal, and $31.2 million in the middle two seasons. Though that’s a lot of money, it’s not astronomical, and something a team looking to contend might be open to adding. The Cavaliers also are rebuilding and might be willing to deal him for other assets, such as draft picks.
Longtime Cavaliers reporter Sam Amico mentioned in a column published on Friday that the Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans all have some level of interest in Love. He added that the Indiana Pacers might also want Love. Separately, the Portland Trail Blazers have also been mentioned in connection with Love.
Love averaged 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds per game in 22 contests last season. He has always been known as a good rebounding and passing big man who also can shoot the three, making him a valuable commodity in today’s NBA. His defensive play and injuries have been weaknesses associated with him.
Kevin Love supports the Ty Lue for the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coaching job.
Love appeared as a guest on “First Things First” on FS1 Friday and talked about Lue’s candidacy for the Lakers job.
"I love Ty Lue. If he's not the Lakers first pick, he should be right there at the top. He's an unbelievable X's and O's guy, a player's coach, a guy that's very approachable. He would be a great decision." — @kevinlovepic.twitter.com/PKG8zz04Uv
“I love Ty Lue,” Love said. “If he’s not their first pick, he should be right there at the top. He’s an unbelievable Xs and Os guy, a players’ coach, a guy that’s very approachable that you can talk to. And I think with the personnel that they have, he would be great, as well as already feeling familiar with LeBron … being able to coach LeBron and get in his ear.
“Ty really knows the game. He’s been around (Michael) Jordan, those great Lakers teams, been around Phil (Jackson), been around Doc (Rivers). A lot of great basketball minds, so I think the more time Ty Lue has as a head coach, he’s only going to get better.”
Lue was Love’s coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2016-2018, spanning parts of four seasons. The Cavs reached the NBA Finals in three straight seasons under Lue, winning one championship.