I don’t know if you noticed, but Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers are headed for a breakup. It’s inevitable. It’s like watching the opening minutes of Marriage Story and knowing that despite all the nice things Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson are saying about each other, that over the next two hours you’re going to watch a very, very messy divorce unfold in front of your eyes. Right now, we’re a solid thirty minutes into Cleveland Story and the split is looming.
It doesn’t take a marriage counselor to see that Love and the Cavs are headed to separation. I mean, just watching this clip from the Cavs game vs the Thunder on Saturday more or less sums up the current mood between Love and Cleveland:
Kevin Love has absolutely had it with Collin Sexton pic.twitter.com/lib6gql0mx— Everything Cleveland (@EverythingCLE_) January 5, 2020
A trade seems all but certain now, so the natural next question is where could Love go?
He’s still got plenty of good basketball in him, averaging 16.4 points (shooting 37% from three), 10.3 boards, and 2.9 assists in 30 minutes this season. There are plenty of teams out there who could use his services. Here are four teams that I think should be jumping on the phone to try and get Love to their team.
I’m starting with the most obvious and least original here. Love trade rumors have been swirling for what’s felt like years and every time they’ve come up, Portland has been in the thick of them. It makes sense. Love has said he wants to play for his hometown team and the Trail Blazers need all the frontcourt help they can get. (I love me some Melo, but 25-year-old Carmelo Anthony should not be your team’s focal point.) Love would add another star alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, both of whom are in their prime and now’s the time to strike with this team.
The trade itself would be pretty easy to pull off given that Hassan Whiteside is on the last year of his $27.1 million deal, which coincides nicely with Love’s $28.9 million cap hit. Add in another piece and a draft pick or two, and that’s a solid trade.
A LeBron James/Kevin Love reunion? Who says no!? Love would add more three point shooting to LA and certainly make the best team in the Western Conference even better. You could do all kinds of crazy big lineups between LeBron, Love, Anthony Davis, a rejuvenated and seemingly now-good-locker-room-guy Dwight Howard, and JaVale McGee. You could even go SUPER big and have LeBron, Love and AD all on the court together! The possibilities are endless!
This of all my suggestions seems the least likely to me as in order to get a trade done, the Lakers would have to give up basically all the backcourt guys they got, centering around Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell Pope. But if the Lakers want to firmly lock up their best championship chances, Love would be a perfect addition.
When Natty and I talked way back on the Long 2 podcast about potential Love trade partners, I brought up the Nuggets and ever since then, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with the idea. Pairing Love with Nikola Jokic just seems like too much fun as both bigs are arguably the best passers at their position. They could play together or separate and the Nuggets’ offense wouldn’t skip a beat. Obviously Denver's’ defense would continue to take a hit, but let’s be real, who needs defense when you can regularly score 110 a night?
Much like the Trail Blazers, the Nuggets can make the contracts matchup with a single player. Paul Millsap’s expiring is worth $30 million, making the contracts work right from the jump. The Nuggets would have to add more pieces to make the deal go through, but a deal could be had rather easily if Denver pulled the trigger (which they one billion percent should do).
The Mavericks are not hiding the fact that they feel they need another big man. They seem firmly in on the Andre Drummond sweepstakes, which certainly makes sense, but why not grab Love instead who not only adds rebounding inside, but can also play along the perimeter if needed? Love at the five to pair with Hall of Fame MVP Greatest Player Ever To Play The Sport Of Basketball Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis would take the Mavericks from a fringe playoff candidate to a solid threat in the West.
Who should trade for Kevin Love?
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