Kevin Love Trade Rumors: Cavaliers Would Shop Star If LeBron James Leaves

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 19:  Kevin Love #0 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers look on in the first half against the Boston Celtics during Game Three of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 19, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

If LeBron James isn't on the Cleveland Cavaliers next season, there's a good chance Kevin Love won't be either.

As ESPN's Brian Windhorst explained on The Hoop Collective (h/t RealGM), no current players are guaranteed spots if James decides to decline his player option for 2018-19.

"They start over," Windhorst said of the Cavaliers. "They fully make Kevin Love available. I bet they would look for a first-round pick in that trade. He's on the last year of a deal, so they don't want to take on money."

While James hasn't given any indication of what he will do about his future, there is wide speculation his time in Cleveland is over. Bleacher Report's Howard Beck explained that the four-time MVP leaving is the only logical conclusion based on what we have seen.

According to OddsShark, the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets have the best odds of landing James, followed by a tie between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Cavaliers.

This means Cleveland will likely have to prepare for a future without its biggest star, and based on what we saw these playoffs, the squad won't have much chance of contending without James playing every night.

If the Cavs do open things up for a fire sale, Love would be the top target for teams as the only other player who averaged double figures during the playoffs. The center totaled 14.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in the postseason, scoring at least 20 points in three of four NBA Finals games.

This came after averaging 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game during the regular season while shooting 41.5 percent from beyond the arc. He earned his second straight All-Star selection and fifth of his career.

The biggest question mark is his salary. He is owed over $24 million next season with a player option for 2019-20. Anyone who trades for Love has to make sure he can fit well with the team before he costs too much in a trade return, salary and future cap flexibility.

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