Stephen A. Smith: It Wouldn’t Surprise Me If Lakers Traded for Kevin Love

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The status of Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love has been the source of debate almost since the Cavaliers acquired him in August 2014 from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Despite having signed a four-year extension with the Cavaliers that will pay him a total of $120 million beginning next year, the idea of Love being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers is something that still might happen. That’s the opinion of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who made the comment on Monday’s edition of “First Take.”

As Smith noted, a trade of Love to the Lakers sounds plausible for a number of reasons. Love played collegiately at nearby UCLA and has a strong friendship with LeBron James, who left Cleveland for Los Angeles after becoming a free agent in July.

In 2014, when James announced his return to play for the Cavaliers, he made a strong push for the Cavs to acquire Love, with the two players leading the team to four consecutive finals appearances and the 2016 NBA title.

The main problem with Smith’s statement is that he clearly indicates that the prediction is simply his opinion, with no solid evidence to back up the claim. In addition, his reputation for making bombastic statements in order to simply garner media attention is well known. Finally, it might help bolster his ridiculed opinion that the Lakers would reach the Western Conference finals this season if Love were to be dealt by the Cavaliers.

There’s no indication that the Cavs are even considering such a possibility, but that stance could conceivably change at some point. The last time James left Cleveland was in 2010, with the team immediately collapsing in the wake of his departure. That’s not expected to occur, given the team’s stronger roster of veterans and younger talent. However, if a similar situation were to develop, Smith’s prediction could potentially gain some merit.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.