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Report: ‘Kevin Love Trade Watch’ Has Already Begun

Kevin Love Raptors

Even though Kevin Love‘s four-year contract extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers had seemingly put endless trade rumors to rest, the team’s 0-3 start has brought them back.

Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post has apparently already decided that the rebuilding Cavaliers will endure a long season, leading to major changes by the February trade deadline:

“Keep an eye on Kevin Love as the potential first major trade chip to be moved in the non-Jimmy Butler category. Yes, Love signed a long-term extension with Cleveland this summer. But as Blake Griffin showed last year, that just means he could be more attractive to another team as a trade chip.

“The Cavaliers want to be competitive this season and Love can’t even be moved until late January. But by then, Cleveland could be far outside the playoff picture — and Love, like Griffin last year, could be going elsewhere.”

When Love was acquired by the Cavaliers in 2014, he was one year away from free agency. When the team started slowly that first year, trade speculation concerning the 30-year-old power forward immediately ramped up.

Even after re-signing with the team the following year, those rumors never died. In the meantime, Love helped the Cavs capture their first-ever NBA title in 2016, part of a stretch that included four consecutive trips to the Finals for the team.

With former teammate LeBron James now playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Love is seen as the focal point of the rebuilding team’s offense. He’s averaged a double-double for most of his career, but has also been plagued with a series of injuries.

During his time with the Cavs, Love’s injured shoulder ended his season in the 2015 playoffs and injuries in each of the past two seasons have kept him from playing in the All-Star Game.

The reference to Griffin was because the former Los Angeles Clippers forward signed an extension with the team and then was later dealt to the Detroit Pistons.

Of course, making such assessments after just three games seems a bit rash. The Cavaliers have played poorly in their three losses, but Love is hardly the main problem. He’s averaged a double-double with 20.7 points and 14.3 rebounds per game and is also dishing out an average of four assists per game. If the Cavs do continue to flounder, this rumor will inevitably grow stronger, but a little perspective may be in order at the present time.

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