Kevin Love Trade Rumors: Exec Expects Big-Market Team to Pursue Deal for Star

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 28, 2019

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 7: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket against the San Antonio Spurs on April 7, 2019 at Quicken Loans Arena 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

The 19-63 Cleveland Cavaliers are likely staying put near the bottom of the NBA standings next season thanks in part to significant financial constraints that have them well over the 2019-20 salary cap, but the team has a chance to move star forward Kevin Love to free up some space.

An unnamed league executive told Joe Vardon of The Athletic that "one of the big-market teams that fail to land a big fish are going to make an offer for Kevin."

Vardon explained the rationale.

"It's simple math: There aren't enough available marquee players to fill all that cap room," Vardon wrote.
"Love is a five-time All-Star and is 30 years old. If he's available and your team thinks it has a chance to contend, you dial [general manager Koby Altman] in Cleveland."

Love averaged 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in 22 games during an injury-shortened season, primarily due to left foot ailments and a sore left shoulder. He signed a four-year, $120 million deal before last year.

Love is a double-double machine whose proficiency on the boards likely isn't going away anytime soon, and he's also hit 36.0 percent or more of his three-pointers in each of the past six seasons.

The five-time All-Star struggled shooting the ball overall, though, hitting just 38.5 percent of his field goals last year. He did make a career-high 90.4 percent of his free throws.

Love's contract is a bit hard to swallow for a player turning 31 years old before the season starts. He also hasn't played more than 60 games in a season since 2015-16.

Still, Vardon is right: The demand for talent is certainly there for teams with a ton of cap space, with the Athletic writer naming 10 in total who can absorb Love's contract.

However, some teams are going to be left out in the cold on big names like Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, opening the door for other free agents or players with big contracts to get moved.

Ultimately, Love might be headed elsewhere. ESPN's Brian Windhorst (h/t ESPN Cleveland's Aaron Goldhammer) said that he thinks it's "50/50" that Love is traded. The interest for a move is clearly there, but it's a matter of whether the Cavs and potential suitors can work out logistics.