Kevin Love Trade Rumors: 'Dissonance' About Cavs F's Value; Blazers, Suns Linked

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) brings the ball up court against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of an NBA basketball game, in San Antonio, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. Cleveland won 117-109 in overtime. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

There is reportedly "dissonance" around the NBA regarding the trade value of Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe.

Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski discussed the Love situation on their trade-season special Sunday night. 

"I think you're looking at a marketplace where they'll probably get a protected first-round pick and maybe an expiring contract and then maybe a throw-in player," Wojnarowski said, per RealGM.

Lowe noted the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns are among the most likely teams to express interest. The Blazers have been searching for answers as they struggle to stay alive in the Western Conference playoff race, while the Suns' surprisingly competent start has them thinking about potential moves for veterans to fortify their roster.

Love and the Cavaliers would likely prefer to get a trade done before the Feb. 6 deadline. Cleveland is 6-20, and Love has become more vocal about his frustration with the franchise's struggles.

"Just complete and utter frustration," Love told cleveland.com's Chris Fedor earlier this month. "I think that's natural. I really want to compete. I think most guys want to compete. Just really, really frustrated. I don't know. Getting myself going is just ... I don't know what else I can do."

The Cavs signed love to a four-year, $120.4 million contract extension in July 2018, just a few weeks after LeBron James' departure for Los Angeles. At the time, the move seemed to be both a pledge of loyalty and an act of practicality from both sides. Love probably wasn't getting $120 million elsewhere, and the Cavs were afforded time to either build a competitive team or explore the veteran's trade market.

Now that contract has become perhaps the biggest impediment to any Love trade. Paying an average of more than $30 million for this version of Love—a good-but-unspectacular forward who is best suited for a role as the third or fourth best player on a title team—is feasible for only a handful of squads. That's what makes him attractive to the likes of Portland and Phoenix, with the former desperate to save its season and the latter for relevance.

Love's salary also probably takes him out of consideration for a team like the Houston Rockets, who could use another star next to James Harden and Russell Westbrook but are too top-heavy in salary to have much flexibility. Houston may also want to prioritize a perimeter defensive presence given the team's lack of depth on the wing, something Love does not provide. 

NBA Champion, co-host of the “Talking Blazers” podcast, and co-host of “Handles” on NBA TV, Channing Frye, joins “The Full 48 with Howard Beck” to discuss the Portland Trail Blazers, trading Damian Lillard and/or CJ McCollum, James Harden, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love, and the Buffet Of Goodness.