The Los Angeles Lakers are likely going to find it challenging to make a major move by February’s NBA trade deadline. This once again leaves the buyout market as one of the more viable options to improve their roster.
During an interview on the December 10 episode of the FnA podcast, Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus noted that Cavaliers big man Kevin Love is a name to watch for the Lakers. Love’s four-year, $120 million contract runs through the 2022-23 season and there has been speculation about the veteran being a buyout candidate.
“I do think there are small moves to make, and then when you get to the buyout market, then you see who didn’t happen,” Pincus explained. “I think there was some hope that Kevin Love would get bought out before the season and, obviously, that hasn’t happened. He would change the dynamic in that you would play him and A.D. inside four or five. And while, I guess A.D. would probably be the five in that situation.
“What that does is add floor spacing which you don’t have if you’re going bigger and you play LeBron at the three. And now, you’re bigger at the three instead of LeBron at the four. And you play Russell Westbrook and then whoever that fifth starter is. It changes the dynamic a bit.”
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Love on Playing With James: ‘Whether We Disagreed or Agreed, My Voice Was Heard’
During an October 2018 interview with ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Love was asked if he would want to play with James again. The Cavs big man did not rule out a potential reunion but admitted there are some challenges that come with playing alongside James.
“Well, it depends on whether we’re talking about a perimeter player or a post player,” Love responded at the time. “You have to follow. You have to learn a lot about that. …It was hard to, that place was a revolving door. We didn’t have veterans, and there was no continuity. I had some bad habits.
“…”[Playing with LeBron] you’re not the top guy. I just tried to continue to be myself and not fake it. I said how I felt. Whether we disagreed or agreed, my voice was heard.”
Love Is Averaging the Least Amount of Minutes of His Career
All this speculation is dependent on the Cavs opting to agree to a buyout with Love, something they have been reluctant to do so far. Heading into the season, Love denied that he had discussed a buyout with the Cavaliers.
The five-time All-Star is playing a much more limited role with the Cavs this season as they continue to develop their younger players. Love is averaging 20.2 minutes per contest without starting a game, a figure that is the lowest of his career. The veteran is posting 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists while shooting 37.5% from long range per contest.
As the Lakers saw last season with Andre Drummond, buyout players do not have a great track record of being major difference makers. Love would be more of a fit for the Lakers’ current roster given his shooting. Pincus noted that the Lakers will once again be eying veterans who rebuilding teams view as expendable.
“So, I don’t know who else because I think it’s a little premature to get into the buyout market,” Pincus added. “But you just look for veterans on teams that are lousy, who are in the last year of their contract. Every so often, someone with two years gets bought out, like Kemba Walker got bought out with multiple years, Blake Griffin did. So, it does happen, but generally speaking you look for players on one-year deals on bad teams who aren’t important.”