NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Kevin Love, Kawhi Leonard and Kyle KorverJuly 10, 2018
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a team that is in transition—once again—after LeBron James has left via free agency and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Since James agreed to go to Los Angeles more than a week ago, there has been quite a bit of speculation about what the Cavs would do with their remaining headliner in Kevin Love. The early speculation was they would move the 6'10" power forward as the team transitioned into a full teardown.
However, it looks like it is far more likely that Love will be on the roster at the start of the season than in another uniform. Veteran columnist Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer quoted an NBA executive who said that the Cavs will open the season with Love unless "they get blown away" by an offer.
Love has one year remaining on his contract and is scheduled to be paid $24 million this year. He also has a player option for $25.6 million in the 2019-20 season. Love averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the Cavaliers last season.
Even if Love remains with the Cavs through the early part of the season, he figures to be one of the most talked-about players in the league prior to the trade deadline. He could be viewed as a complementary player for any team with strong playoff or championship aspirations as the season reaches its most critical point.
While the Cavs are biding their time with Love, they are apparently willing to move veteran swingman Kyle Korver.
The 37-year-old has been one of the more dependable outside shooters in the NBA. He averaged 9.2 points per game last year while shooting 43.6 percent from beyond the arc, and those numbers are fairly close to his career averages in those areas (9.9 and 43.1).
As a result, the Cavs should be able to find a willing trade partner for Korver's services. Pluto reported that the Cavs are looking to move him and his $7.5 million salary. Korver is also under contract for the same amount in 2019-20, but just $3.4 million of that season is guaranteed.
The Kawhi Leonard situation appears to have stalled out as the offseason has moved past its opening stage. It was expected that the San Antonio Spurs would make a deal with one of the rumored teams—Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics or Philadelphia 76ers—and the team would move on from their signature star who played in just nine games last season.
However, that did not happen as the Spurs are looking for a huge return for the franchise's best asset.
While few around the NBA have any insight into how Leonard's scenario will be resolved, one Western Conference executive expects that the Spurs will make their move with Leonard before the start of the situation, according to Justin Tinsley of The Undefeated.
"You gotta expect that he's gone sooner than later. You don't want that dragging into the season. And for someone like Kawhi, you absolutely have to get something in return. ... It's like the entire league is just waiting on the shoe to drop."
The league is clearly waiting for the Spurs to come to that conclusion with their star forward and then dealing him for a significant return.
Leonard had a mysterious injury to his right quadriceps that kept him from playing the vast majority of the 2018-19 season.