Last week the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, and Portland Trail Blazers were involved in a three-team trade that shook up the NBA landscape. The Cavaliers received former lottery pick Lauri Markkanen from the Bulls, the Bulls received Derrick Jones Jr. from the Trail Blazers, and the Trail Blazers received forward Larry Nance Jr. from the Cavaliers.
As part of the deal, a sign and trade between the Cavaliers and the Bulls inked Markkanen to a 4-year $67 million deal for the big man to stay with the Cavs long term. This comes just after the Cavaliers signed rising big-man Jarrett Allen to a 5-year $100 million max contract. The Cavaliers acquired Allen back in January as a part of the trade that landed James Harden with the Brooklyn Nets. After an impressive first year, Cleveland is looking to make Allen the centerpiece of their franchise going forward.
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Kevin Love Not Interested in Buyout With the Cavaliers
Despite the new additions to Cleveland’s frontcourt, Cavaliers big man Kevin Love is not interested in reaching a buyout agreement for the two years and $60 million he has remaining on his contract. This is according to Love’s agent Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports per ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski. The Brooklyn Nets were expected to be amongst Love’s top suitors if he were to become a free agent.
“Five-time All-Star forward Kevin Love has no interest in negotiating a buyout on the two years and $60 million left on his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, told ESPN on Saturday,” Woj writes.
“There have been no talks with Cleveland on a buyout, nor is there any interest from Kevin in doing a buyout,” Schwartz told ESPN.
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Kevin Love Would Welcome Trade From Cavaliers
With Allen and Markkanen agreeing to long-term deals and drafting big man Evan Mobley with the third pick in this year’s NBA draft things have begun to look very cluttered in Cleveland’s frontcourt. While Love may not be interested in a buyout with the Cavs, the writing may already be on the wall as it pertains to his exit from Cleveland.
Although Love is not interested in a buyout agreement with Cleveland, Woj notes that he is not opposed to being traded from the Cavaliers
“The Cavaliers have periodically explored trading Love — a scenario he supports — but have been unable to find a deal they’re willing to execute, sources said,” Woj writes.
“The arrivals of three significantly younger frontcourt players in the past year — center Jarrett Allen, No. 3 pick Evan Mobley and forward Lauri Markkanen from the Bulls — could impact Love’s minutes with the Cavaliers.”
Nets Have Shown Interest in Cavaliers Big Man
While the Nets’ chances of landing Love may be even more far-fetched now, they may still be looking to do business with the Cavaliers. According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, the Nets are also eyeing Cavs big man Isaiah Hartenstein who had a solid year for Cleveland last season.
“The Nets have had a long flirtation with Hartenstein. They liked the 7-footer in the 2017 draft, and he dominated against their affiliate, Long Island, in the 2019 G-League Finals, when he was named MVP while playing for Rio Grande. A source told The Post the Nets were even interested in signing Hartenstein before the 2020 NBA bubble, but he was ineligible for the playoffs due to the date he’d been waived,” Lewis writes.
“Hartenstein averaged 8.3 points, 6.0 boards, 2.5 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 17.9 minutes per game for the Cavaliers last season, the best stretch of his young career. After declining his $1.9 million player option, the 23-year-old is an unrestricted free agent, and The Post has confirmed there is again mutual interest with the Nets. They attended his recent workout in Las Vegas.”
With the start of training camp just around the corner, the Nets are still looking to fill out their roster with key pieces that could aid in Brooklyn’s pursuit of a championship.