With the team’s front office putting an emphasis on building out its young core, Love would likely be a better fit playing for a team contending for a title.
While the Cavs seem more than willing to part ways with Love in a trade, they have yet to find a deal they deem worthwhile.
So, what types of deals should the Cavs consider? Here are three trades that the team’s front office would be wise to pursue.
1. Send Love Home
Last season, the Blazers battled all the way to the Western Conference Finals before being bullied by the Golden State Warriors.
This season, things have not gone according to plan.
At the moment, the Blazers are just 18-24 on the season. That being said, they are only one and a half games back from the No. 8 seed in their highly competitive conference. Adding Love to that team could certainly push it over the edge and make it a difficult out in the playoffs.
In order to get a deal done, the Blazers would likely have to send over big man Hassan Whiteside to make the money work. Beyond that, the Cavs could ask the Blazers to sweeten the deal by sending over rookie forward Nassir Little as well as a protected first-round pick for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Adding Whiteside would give the Cavs a one-year rental on a player who has averaged 15.6 points and 14.0 rebounds per game this season. Little and the pick would add to the Cavs’ current stable of promising developmental projects.
While Little struggled in his single collegiate season at the University of North Carolina, he was once considered to be a sure lottery pick as the No. 2 ranked prospect in Rivals.com‘s 2018 rankings.
Bringing him to the Cavs would not only give him an opportunity to grow in a rebuilding organization, it would also give Cavs fans another youngster to get excited about.
2. Love to the Rising Suns
A surprise team in this league so far this season has been the Phoenix Suns. Despite losing big man DeAndre Ayton to a 25-game suspension due to violation the terms of the NBA/NBPA anti-drug policy, the Suns are right in the mix when it comes to playoff hopes in the Western Conference.
With Ayton now back in the lineup, the Suns have gone 5-4 in their last nine games. Adding a savvy veteran with All-Star and championship pedigree could definitely help in that pursuit.
In fact, an earlier report indicated that the Suns were interested in Love.
Not only would Love offer the Suns a veteran leader, he would also give them a proven scoring option alongside Ayton and offensive dynamo Devin Booker.
In order to get this deal done, the Cavs could ask for a combination of solid veteran role players, young talent and a future draft pick.
Tyler Johnson and Dario Saric would help make the money work. Both are on expiring contracts and both would certainly help fill out the Cavs’ changing roster.
Mikal Bridges would give the Cavs yet another project player to develop in the team’s frontcourt.
Finally, a 2020 protected first-round pick would give the Cavs another asset to help build towards the future.
3. Trade Love to a True Contender
While the first two deals saw Love being sent to two playoff hopefuls in the Western Conference, this final deal would send him to a true Finals contender in the Eastern Conference.
The Boston Celtics currently hold the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and are being led by youngsters Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum as well as veteran star Kemba Walker.
That being said, they are lacking a scoring option at the two big men positions.
Love could easily help remedy that issue and would likely thrive in coach Brad Stevens’ system.
Making a deal with the Celtics work would be quite easy. The real prize for the Cavs here would be small forward Gordon Hayward.
Hayward was a star signing for the Celtics a couple years ago, but a catastrophic injury derailed his role as the centerpiece for that team. As he has recovered back to full strength, Tatum and Brown have made him something of an odd man out in Boston.
So far this season, Hayward has averaged 16.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Coming to Cleveland would offer him an opportunity to prove that he can be the best player on a team once again, an opportunity he hasn’t truly had since leaving the Utah Jazz as a free agent in 2017.
In order to further sweeten the deal, the Cavs could swap veteran guard Brandon Knight for rookie guard Romeo Langford. Knight would give the Celtics a solid rotational option to back up Walker.
Finally, the Cavs could ask for the Celtics to part ways with one of their many future first-round picks. The Celtics have their own 2020 pick, as well as two protection picks, one coming from the Memphis Grizzlies and another coming from the Milwaukee Bucks.
Acquiring any one of those picks would this deal a huge success for the Cavs.