Kevin Love Trade Rumors: Cavaliers Star Prefers Deal to 'Contending Team'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love reacts after scoring a basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The 5-17 Cleveland Cavaliers will likely be sellers before February's NBA trade deadline, and one player who should attract interest is veteran big man Kevin Love. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Love "prefers a move to a contending team."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday that Cleveland is "expressing a willingness to listen to offers" for Love.

Per Wojnarowski, Cleveland is "open to the idea of moving Love before the Feb. 6 trade deadline should the Cavaliers find a requisite package of young assets and/or future draft picks."

The 31-year-old is averaging 16.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, shooting 44 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three. He remains an elite rebounder who can operate as a stretch 4 with his excellent shooting, offering valuable floor spacing as a big man. He also brings championship experience to the table.

On the other hand, acquiring him means absorbing the three years and $91.5 million he's due after this season—a contract that may not age well.

He also isn't a particularly impactful defensive player. He's tied for 220th in the NBA in defensive win shares (0.060). The issue for Love is often one of position. Against more athletic 4s or wings, he doesn't have the athleticism to keep them from getting to their spots. Against more physical centers, he can get beat up down low.

But as the third star on a contender, Love's rebounding and scoring would be an asset. Teams that are a piece away from being a title hopeful—think the Miami Heat—or squads that hope to solidify their places in the postseason—such as the Phoenix Suns or the struggling Portland Trail Blazers—could be intriguing fits.