Kevin Love Trade Packages
Image Courtesy of The Players' Tribune
LeBron’s departure has left his former teammate, Kevin Love, in no man’s land. He’s the lone All-Star in a island of misfit toys that is the Cleveland Cavaliers. While his production has certainly waned in his time since leaving Minnesota, he’s still one of the best stretch big men in the league and a nightly double double threat. Love still has a lot to offer and his skills are best utilised outside of Cleveland, who should be looking to rebuild through stockpiling draft picks and young assets.
Taking all that into consideration, let’s look at a few realistic trade packages some teams could offer the Cavs for Love.
Phoenix Suns: TJ Warren, Jared Dudley, 2019 protected 1st round pick
The Suns’ higher ups have been targeting a superstar for as long as you can remember. They were linked to Kyrie Irving last summer and struck out on Blake Griffin just to name a few. Rumours around Love’s status with the Cavaliers had Suns’ followers contemplating him suiting up in Arizona next season. That was later refuted:
Let’s play the hypothetical game and imagine Phoenix still has interest in Love. The likely deal it would take to secure him would center around a lottery protected 1st-round pick and the contracts of either Jared Dudley and TJ Warren or Tyson Chandler and TJ Warren.
A front court of Ayton and Love would be tantalising offensively while the Cavs securing the expiring contracts of Jared Dudley or Tyson Chandler gives them salary cap flexibility they so sorely need. Who knows, perhaps a change of scenery unlocks a new side of TJ Warren, who is still only 24 years old.
Utah Jazz: Alec Burks, Jonas Jerebko, Thabo Sefolosha, 2020 1st round pick
Basketball-fit wise, trading Kevin Love to the Jazz makes so much sense. Their re-signing of Derrick Favors complicates things somewhat in that manner but he doesn’t necessarily have to be included in a deal. If he were to be, that could happen in December when he’d be eligible to be dealt (as mentioned on an episode of The NBA Outlet).
A lineup centred around Gobert, Love and Mitchell would be so balanced and dangerous that it’d give the Jazz a real shot at taking the next step in the playoffs.
From Cleveland’s perspective they get serious cap flexibility with all three of the players mentioned being on expiring deals. Koby Altman has made a deal with Utah before in acquiring Rodney Hood, who’s to say a second trade isn’t on the horizon?
Los Angeles Lakers: Luol Deng, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, protected 2019 or 2020 1st round pick
Fans of both teams may snigger at this deal. However there are plenty of benefits for both parties. On the Lakers side they get one of the best three-point shooting big men and a player with a known affinity for the city. Also, they wouldn’t be hamstrung by Love’s contract as he has a $25.6 million player option for 2019-20 when the market is likely to be more player friendly, meaning a strong possibility he opts out. Despite a sometimes rocky relationship, the 5x All-Star has expressed a desire to play with LeBron as long as he can.
For the Cavs they get some great young talent in Hart and Kuzma to accelerate their rebuild. The Deng contract may scare Cleveland fans, and rightly so. Alternatively, Deng is just contract filler and by the time the Cavs are contending again he’ll be long gone.