Blazers, Cavs & Bulls Trade May Open Door for Nets To Land 5x All-Star

Kyrie Irving Kevin Love

Getty Kevin Love celebrates with Kyrie Irving during Game Three of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena on May 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Just when it seemed like all of the drama of NBA free agency had died down and the focus was shifting towards the opening of training camp in September, another big shift happened. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, and Portland Trail Blazers were involved in a three-team blockbuster deal. The trade will send 2020 Slam Dunk Champion Derrick Jones Jr. to the Bulls, Larry Nance Jr. to the Trail Blazers, and Lauri Markkanen to the Cavaliers. Markkanen also will ink a four-year $67 million deal via a sign and trade as first reported by ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

“Cleveland’s acquiring Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen in three-way sign and trade with Portland. Bulls get Derrick Jones Jr., Portland’s lottery-protected future 1st and Cavs’ future second-rounder. Portland gets Larry Nance Jr,” Woj tweeted on Friday. “Portland sends lottery-protected 2022 pick to Bulls; Cavs send a 2023 second-round pick via Denver to Chicago, per sources.”

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Cavs Trade for Markkanen May Allow Nets to Ink Kevin Love

Cavaliers veteran big man Kevin Love is the lone player left from Cleveland’s 2016 championship squad that completed a historic 3-1 comeback against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. It seems as if the Cavaliers have already begun to phase Love out as they transition into a new era.

Last season, the five-time All-Star only suited up for 25 games and a buyout between Love and the Cavs seems to be imminent at this point. If that does happen the Brooklyn Nets could be a prime candidate to sign Love to a veteran’s minimum deal.

With the acquisition of Markkanen from the Bulls, the Cavaliers frontcourt is becoming quite crowded. Cleveland just drafted 7-footer Evan Mobley out of USC with the third pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. In his lone season of college Mobley averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game. Cavaliers big man Jarrett Allen also inked a $100 million max contract to stay with the franchise during this summer’s NBA free agency period. With Mobley, Markkanen, and Allen all being under 25 years old, the minutes could be very scarce for the veteran forward.

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Kevin Durant Helped Recruit Patty Mills During the Olympics

Despite a subpar 2020-21 campaign Love was still selected to the United States Olympic basketball team. Although he left the team before the Olympics officially started, during his short time, he was often seen hanging out with Nets superstar Kevin Durant. Durant shined in the Olympics on the court but also did some work off the court as well. KD was doing some recruiting for Brooklyn as Nets free agent signing Patty Mills cites Durant as one of the main reasons he signed with Brooklyn over his other suitors.

“The conversation I had with Kevin [Durant] was so pure and so genuine, being able to understand that he’s such a pure hooper, and to go back-and-forth about basketball specifics,” Mills said to reporters of Durant per NetsDaily. “It’s exciting for me to know there’s an opportunity there for me to try to be who I am.”

Despite an obvious decline Love has averaged at least 9 rebounds per game in three of his last four seasons. If the Nets can ink him to a deal, it would fill a void that plagued them all of last season.

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