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Here Are Landing Spots for Kevin Love in Potential Deals That ‘Make Sense’
- Updated: September 18, 2019
At age 31, Kevin Love is still a viable, All-Star caliber talent, even if he’s not in his prime anymore.
However, he’s stuck on a Cleveland Cavaliers team that, in all likelihood, will miss the playoffs this upcoming season.
Many have stated that it makes sense to trade Love. Doing so would not only expedite the Cavs’ rebuilding process, but it would also allow Love to enjoy a mini renaissance of sorts on a contending team.
In a recent article, Brad Botkin of CBS Sports looked at some of the best landing spots, and the corresponding deals that would not just make sense for Love, but for the Cavs as well.
1. Portland Trail Blazers
One option mentioned was trading Love to the Portland Trail Blazers. He grew up in Lake Oswego, Ore., and the Blazers are perhaps one frontcourt star away from being true title contenders.
They could make it happen by trading Hassan Whiteside and his large contract. Whiteside is owed $27 million this upcoming season, after which he’ll become a free agent.
2. Boston Celtics
Another possibility could be dealing Love to the Boston Celtics. They have plenty of young talent at the guard and wing spots but are thin upfront. If they’re willing to part with Gordon Hayward and his huge contract, of which the 2020-21 season is a player option, it could work, although Botkin speculates that Boston would likely have to part with multiple first-round draft picks (of which it has four in the next two years) to coax Cleveland into pulling the trigger.
3. Golden State Warriors
How about the Golden State Warriors? There are rumors that recent acquisition D’Angelo Russell is not in their long-term plans, so a deal involving him could work.
Botkin, however, mentions that there may have to be a third team in such a deal, or that the Cavs would have to trade either Darius Garland or Collin Sexton to make room for Russell in their starting backcourt. Reports have indicated that the Cavs aren’t that fond of Garland and Sexton as their backcourt of the future, mostly because they may become a defensive liability.
The Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets are teams where Love, at least conceivably, could win a championship by virtue of taking a strong but flawed team over the top. But either squad would likely have to gut their roster for the 31-year-old Love, which may make such a deal counterintuitive for them.
4. Miami Heat
If the Cavs are willing to deal Love to a team in the same conference, the Miami Heat may want to take a stab by offering a deal centered around Justise Winslow. Love could team up with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo to make the Heat a dark horse contender in an Eastern Conference that just lost reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers.
5. Atlanta Hawks
A dark horse could be the Atlanta Hawks, who have lots of salary tied up in expiring contracts that could help Cleveland get under the salary cap quickly. Their timeline won’t make sense for Love, as Trae Young and De’Andre Hunter are just starting their NBA careers, and the rest of their roster is largely devoid of productive veterans.
But it may be preferable to Cleveland, as it wouldn’t be helping to create a potential championship team in the near future.
In the article, Botkin also pointed out the big obstacle in any potential Love deal.
“The problem? He makes a lot of money,” wrote Botkin. “When Love signed a four-year, $120 million extension with the Cavs last summer, there was a line of thinking that having Love locked into a long-term contract — in this age of the nomadic NBA star — would actually make him more valuable. But Love only played 22 games last season. He hasn’t played more than 60 games since 2015-16. Love’s extension begins this season at $28.9 million. After that, he will make $31.2 million, $31.2 million and $29.8 million through the 2023 season.
“That’ll really jam up a team’s books.”