When LeBron James left Cleveland for the Lakers in summer time 2018, the Cavs wanted to reply with a giant transfer. In order that they prolonged five-time All-Star Kevin Love’s contract via the 2022-23 season, a daring transfer demonstrating Cleveland nonetheless had playoff aspirations and wasn’t going to surrender.
Then the Cavaliers gave up.
Within the season opener, Love suffered a toe harm that required surgical procedure. Then the Cavaliers fired Tyronn Lue after six video games, despatched J.R. Smith dwelling, and traded Kyle Korver simply after Thanksgiving. Cleveland gained 19 video games final season, and Love’s contract appears wildly misplaced now on a tanking workforce constructing round younger guards Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, each of whom can’t legally drink.
So information that Love is on the buying and selling block is not shocking. He has seemingly been topic of commerce rumors since his 2014 commerce to the Cavaliers (5-18), who, by the best way, have gained precisely one sport up to now month.
Love turned 31 earlier than the season, however he’s nonetheless a superb exterior shooter (15.6 ppg.) and rebounder (10.5). He makes about $30 million per season (22nd on the NBA wage listing), and there’s roughly $112 million left on his deal. He’ll be 34 within the final season of his present contract. Is Love overpaid? Perhaps, however he could be one of the best obtainable free agent if his contract have been up after the season. (In fact, that is not counting the Lakers’ Anthony Davis, who’s going nowhere.)
Love has attraction for any workforce that wishes to make use of subsequent 12 months’s cap area early, or capped-out groups who don’t have the monetary flexibility to signal a free agent. As an alternative of competing within the shallow free-agent market, groups might hit the “Purchase It Now” possibility on a barely used stretch ahead with a championship ring. And he would possibly come low cost, as a result of Cleveland absolutely needs to dump the remaining years on the contract.
Now the large query is, to borrow a number of phrases from the Supremes, “The place will our Love go? ” Listed below are doable touchdown spots:
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
There’s a pure slot in Portland, 10 miles from Love’s hometown of Lake Oswego, Oregon. College of Oregon followers nonetheless can’t imagine the Geese let Love go to UCLA, following the proud custom of Portland heroes relocating to Los Angeles (see Matt Groening, Invoice Walton, Elliott Smith, and many others.). Portland nonetheless has a gap in its entrance court docket, regardless of Carmelo Anthony and his Participant of the Week award. He’s nonetheless Carmelo Anthony, nonetheless taking pictures 40%, and he nonetheless can’t play middle. Rodney Hood is out for the season, and Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins ought to each be again earlier than April, so for now, why don’t the Blazers go all-in on their all-offense, no-defense lineup?
Portland can commerce Hassan Whiteside and his expiring deal to make the contracts match and to get him off of the ground, and it may put Love at middle and acquire an enormous benefit with him spacing out the opposite workforce’s rim protector.
The draw back is that Love’s deal might put the Blazers in tax hell for years, and so they have already got Collins and Nurkic. However they’re not going to have cap area anyway as soon as Damian Lillard’s supermax extension kicks in, and Love would possibly simply be a greater sidekick to Lillard than C.J. McCollum. They need to get Love now, then determine what to do about him and CJ within the low season. Plus, if he’s in Portland, Love can change his endorsements from chocolate milk to oat milk.