OTG's Trade Deadline Marathon: Washington Gives Beal Some Love
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OTG's Trade Deadline Marathon: Washington Gives Beal Some Love

Updated: Jan 22

WAS receives: F Kevin Love

CLE receives: C Ian Mahinmi, SF C.J. Miles, 2021 first-round pick

Why the Wizards would do it:

For teams with bloated payrolls, or that aren’t necessarily attractive destinations for players, sometimes the best strategy is to engage in pre-agency. Instead of waiting around for the summer, a front office can use the trade deadline as a launchpad for roster building.

The Washington Wizards have a lot of cap space dedicated to John Wall and Bradley Beal. This gives the team - when healthy - one of the most exciting backcourts in the league.

Much has been written about Beal’s future in DC. He’s set to become a free agent in 2021, but there’s a chance his days in a Wizards uniform are numbered. In the meantime, unfortunately, Washington’s ability to bring in a star to pair with Bradley and Wall are limited by a tight payroll.

That’s where trading for the disgruntled Kevin Love comes into play. The basketball fit would be offensive ecstasy, and such a move would give the Wizards a new, rather potent nucleus to play with next season. Likewise, bringing in a star for a team with mediocre attendance numbers doesn’t hurt.

Washington could trade away Davis Bertans this season for future assets or a young piece, and effectively tank behind “load managing” Kevin Love and Bradley Beal. With Thomas Byrant and Rui Hachimura coming around, suddenly the Wizards would be looking at a roster anchored by three established, All-Star caliber players and supported by young, exciting role players.

Why the Cavaliers would do it:

The situation between Cleveland and Kevin Love is approaching untenable. His disdain for the coach, the GM, and some of the team’s young players is one of the worst kept secrets in the NBA. Kevin Love needs to get out of Ohio.

In hoping to jettison their disgruntled star, though, the Cavaliers aren’t bartering from a position of strength. Love’s long, expensive contract will be difficult to move.

Teams eyeing the loaded 2021 free agent class can’t make a move for Love. Nor can teams entering a rebuild or with young stars with a payday on the horizon.

Washington is, by default, one of the few trade partners actually available for Cleveland. Getting off of Love’s massive contract, fully embracing a tank, and bagging an asset in the process would be a big win for the Cavs front office.

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