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NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Kevin Love, Robert Covington, More

mandela namaste@@mandiba13Contributor IDecember 11, 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

December 15 is the first date of the NBA season when newly-signed free agents can be traded, and we're just five days away from that unofficial start of trade season.

As such, the rumor mill is now fully up and running after an unusually fallow period. Let's dig in. 

To the surprise of nobody, the New York Knicks are actively exploring the trade market.

Per SNY's Ian Begley, Knicks management has bemoaned the lack of a primary shot creator, and as such it is keeping an eye on available players who might fill such a need.

The article mentioned the potential availability of somebody such as Spurs wing DeMar DeRozan, who could be a target for the team if it decides to become a buyer this winter.

As always with the Knicks, extraneous matters needlessly overcomplicate things here.

Begley reported that in the past, team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry have refused to trade first-round picks, and they seem unwilling to move off that stance for the time being. Add the generally uncertain nature of their futures in New York to that list of questions, and these rumors might end up being all for naught.

But the team seems to alter course every few weeks, so keep both eyes open for a blue-and-orange-tinted trade deadline. 

Strangely, the Knicks actually have competition for the title of NBA's most dysfunctional organization for the time being. 

Last week, The Athletic's Joe Vardon and Shams Charania reported rookie Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein has already lost the trust of numerous players. Now, no specific player was mentioned in the article, but it's not hard to speculate about one particular name: Kevin Love. 

Soon after the aforementioned article was published, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski noted the Cavs are starting to take calls on their five-time All Star, and the list of destinations is steadily growing.

As to be expected, the 31-year-old's preferred trade destination appears to be his hometown of Portland, per The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor. As the Blazers have been playing the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Mario Hezonja and Nassir Little at power forward, Love is as perfect a fit for them as they are for him.

O'Connor also mentioned Denver and Phoenix as potential destinations for Love, both of which would also be good fits, provided the Nuggets move incumbent power forward Paul Millsap in return. 

The same article reported the Houston Rockets are interested in Timberwolves wing Robert Covington. 

Since being shipped up north in Philadelphia's trade for Jimmy Butler last fall, the 28-year-old has not been heard from much, but he's been about as good as usual this year, averaging career highs in field-goal efficiency and free-throw shooting for a Timberwolves team that has been better than expected.

Whether Minnesota would want to trade Covington is another story, especially when the Rockets have been hemorrhaging first-round picks in recent years to acquire Chris Paul and then Russell Westbrook and are short on tradeable assets.

However, Covington's presence on what has been an inconsistent Rockets defense could make them the biggest threat to Los Angeles' Western Conference hegemony.