Kevin Love Trade Rumors: Cavaliers PF 'Would Prefer' Deal to Trail Blazers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 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

Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love would reportedly "prefer" a move to the Portland Trail Blazers if he's dealt before the 2020 NBA trade deadline in February.

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported Tuesday the Blazers are seeking frontcourt reinforcements after injuries to Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins but could face competition for Love from the Denver Nuggets.

Portland has been one of the season's biggest disappointments so far with a 9-15 record after being expected to contend in the loaded Western Conference. The team finished last season with a 53-29 mark, which earned the No. 3 seed in the West.

The backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum has continued to shine, but the absence of Nurkic and Collins has created a lack of depth. A more recent season-ending Achilles injury to Rodney Hood has only further exasperated the problem.

Although 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony has provided an offensive spark since his signing in mid-November, the wing player is a defensive liability and won't alone solve the Blazers' problems.

Love could bring another proven commodity to Portland. The 6'8", 251-pound forward has averaged 15.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 19 appearances for the Cavs this season.

With Cleveland standing at 5-18, moving the 31-year-old UCLA product for future assets seems like a no-brainer. Love told ESPN's Tim Bontemps he's enjoyed his time with the team, but he's aware of the situation.

"I imagine, in a rebuild, it's easy to look at it, especially when it's down and out at this point and say, 'Hey, we want to completely reset the deck and go young,'" he said Monday. "I understand that."

Another potential target for the Blazers is Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari, per O'Connor.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets offense has lagged this season in large part because center Nikola Jokic, a career 51.9 percent shooter, is only shooting 46.5 percent from the field this season. Adding a player like stretch 4 like Love next to him could help spread the defense.

Interest from multiple teams should help Cleveland increase its asking price.