NBA Trade Rumors: Latest on Kevin Love and Plans for Knicks, Rockets

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2019

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love plays during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

After a relatively quiet opening to the 2019-20 NBA season, the rumor mill is beginning to place several names in the trade market.

Right now, Kevin Love is the marquee name available.

Though 22 games, the Cleveland Cavaliers have the Eastern Conference's second-worst record at 5-17. The Cavs are 28th in offensive rating and 27th on the defensive end, per NBA.com. As a result, a shift toward prioritizing the future is understandable.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this month Cleveland is ready to discuss offers, and Shams Charania of The Athletic provided more details on a potential move.

"Love prefers a move to a contending team," Charania wrote.

But between salary situations around the NBA and his age, injury history and contract, that won't be easy to accomplish.

"He's 31, and he is not a young 31 if you know what I mean," an Eastern Conference general manager said, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy. "He's had injuries lately and he's had injuries throughout his career. There isn't a lot there to make you think he'll play 70 or 75 games a year. And for what you've got to pay him, it's going to be tough to justify that to your owner."

Love has four seasons remaining on his contract with salaries of $28.9 million bookending two years of $31.3 million, per HoopsHype.

All those factors add up to a complicated trade value.

Cleveland probably isn't going to receive multiple first-round picks or a top draft selection and promising young player in return. Yet if the Cavaliers don't see a promising long-term future with Love, they have ample reason to ship him elsewhere and focus both their attention and resources on younger players.

The reeling New York Knicks are also looking at the future.

After firing head coach David Fizdale, the team is keeping an eye on potential moves to improve the roster, per Ian Begley of SNY. He also mentioned some members of the organization have "lamented the lack of a creator" on the roster.

Begley noted contending teams may be interested in Marcus Morris and Wayne Ellington, who have expiring contracts. Morris will be a free agent next summer, while Ellington only has $1 million guaranteed for 2020-21, per HoopsHype.

After signing as a free agent in 2019, Morris' time in New York might be brief.
After signing as a free agent in 2019, Morris' time in New York might be brief.Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

However, if as Begley reported, the Knicks aren't inclined to part with draft picks, they're not likely to make a splashy trade.

In fairness, that's probably the proper course of action for a non-contender. Since the Houston Rockets are desperate to stay in the playoff mix, they're more willing to dangle draft picks.

"The Rockets are willing to give up more future assets for roster help right now, league sources say," Charania reported. "Houston will most likely target wing players on the market."

When the team traded for Russell Westbrook this offseason, it sent 2024 and 2026 first-round selections to the Oklahoma City Thunder. So, the Rockets cannot deal their 2023 or 2025 picks; they're limited to first-rounders in 2020 or 2022.

That should attract some attention on the market, though the financial aspect of a trade is much trickier. Nene has a $10 million salary, but the NBA previously ruled only $2.56 million of the incentive-heavy contract can apply to a transaction.

While Houston could explore combining salaries, that's not simple either. Finding a suitor that has a valuable wing and several open roster spots will be complicated, so the alternative is involving a thirdand maybe even a fourthteam.

Impossible? Certainly not. But general manager Daryl Morey has quite the web to untangle for the Rockets.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.


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