As the NBA free agency rumblings continue to ramp up, one topic that’s flown a bit under the radar is a potential trade involving Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love. There’s been some belief dating back to last season that the Cavaliers will opt to deal Love, but nothing concrete has come to light yet.
With free agency set to get underway, there’s bound to be a number of teams who’ll take a swing at signing top-tier players, and many will wind up missing. In turn, it appears that the interest will then ramp up for a team to make a trade offer for Love. And as The Athletic’s Joe Vardon reported, one league executive stated that it’ll be a big-market team.
More specifically, the potential suitor for Love could be one of the big-market teams that strikes out and fails to land a top free agent.
“Yes, one of the big-market teams that fail to land a big fish are going to make an offer for Kevin,” said one of three league executives, none of them from the Cavs, who spoke to The Athletic for this story.
It’s unknown which of the teams vying for max-level free agents will miss obviously, but as Vardon points out, there are a massive number of free agents, and roughly 40 percent of all players are on the open market. With that said, we’re going to take a look at which teams could make sense as potential landing spots for Love.
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Kevin Love Trade: Top Potential Trade Partners
Basing it purely off the teams who are eyeing top free agents, the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers could all fall into the category. As Vardon explained in the same story above, each of those teams with the exception of the Lakers, have the potential to sign two max-level players.
The Lakers are unlikely at this point following the Anthony Davis trade, but it may not be completely out of the question depending on how free agency goes. The Knicks, Clippers and Sixers are the three teams worth keeping a close eye on, though. If the Knicks are unable to land one or two of their top targets, acquiring Love would make a decent amount of sense, and it’s an even better move if they fill one of the two max slots in free agency.
I’m not entirely sure if the Sixers would have the assets to put together a trade offer for Love, and it would only happen if they lost Tobias Harris in free agency more than likely. But the Clippers could be a home run destination, especially if they fail to lure Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant or another top-tier player.
Kevin Love’s Contract & Stats
Love received a big contract extension from the Cavaliers worth north of $120.4 million over four years, per Spotrac. The deal runs through the 2022-23 season and will come with cap hits between just over $28.94 and $31.25 million over the next four years. While Love has been impressive throughout his NBA career, he was plagued by injuries throughout the 2018-19 season.
After averaging a career-high 26.1 points per game during the 2013-14 season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he proceeded to join the Cavaliers and team up with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. His averages dropped to 16.4 and 16.0 points over the next two seasons while increasing to 19.0 and 17.6 in the next two. Last year, which was his first in Cleveland without James, Love played in just 22 games due to the aforementioned injuries, averaging 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds over 27.2 minutes per game.