“I think the pressure gets pretty high,” said a rival team executive. “If it’s not working, they should either move the [Nets] pick or Love or LeBron. Those should all be on the table.”
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It wasn’t hypothetical swaps for Carmelo Anthony — trades that the Cavs never seriously considered, according to sources. This time, Love’s name was floated out there in blockbuster deals for Paul George, who eventually went to Oklahoma City. “I don’t know if numb is the word,” Love said. “Some of the things are laughable. I know this is our job and this is our business and this is what we do for a living. But at the end of the day it’s a business. We’ve seen guys on several teams and throughout the course of history of the game, maybe a coach or a GM or a certain player has sworn that either they’re going to keep him or they’re going to sign this player, free agency and they get a better deal. It’s the better offer theory.
“I just take it with a grain of salt at this point and know that wherever I am, I want to be here, it’s well-documented, I want to compete for a championship. But at the end of the day I know that it’s a business and anything can happen at any given moment. I’ve just got to keep my head down and keep working and keep my damn mouth shut and go out there and try and perform.”
Kevin Love uses humor to shield himself from the incessant trade rumors that he’s been forced to accept. So once again, just like every other spent with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Love had an entertaining summer. “Groundhog’s Day,” he said with a smile when asked about how he processed the latest round of speculation.
The Cavs have contemplated trading Love off and on almost since that series, though they have no plans to do so right now, sources say. (Love does not have much standalone trade value.) They nearly flipped him for Paul George in a three-team trade in late June. It sometimes seems remarkable Love has survived this long in Cleveland, and that he outlasted Irving. Love sulked during much of the 2015-16 season. He absorbed LeBron’s passive-aggressive tweets, the dirty looks after botched rotations on defense. It would not have been surprising had the Cavs lost him sometime in the winter of 2016.
The addition of Crowder also could make Love expendable, allowing Cleveland to dangle either the All-Star stretch forward, the Brooklyn pick — or both — on the market in February to make a push to revamp the roster before the postseason.
There are any number of deals that could transpire. A league source said perhaps the best Cleveland could do would be something with Boston, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and multiple first-round picks, and then use Thomas to trade for a different piece (wait a minute, didn’t I just say I wouldn’t do specific scenarios?). The Knicks don’t want Kevin Love, so your proposal isn’t happening.
Brian Windhorst: The Cavs have had all kind of talks with the Jazz over Melo deal, over Kevin Love deal. They’ve been talking to Jazz on and off for months.
Brian Windhorst: I’ve heard permutations of deals with the Jazz as the third team. Let’s put it this way, it would be easier if Boris Diaw was still there, if we had a beautiful contract to use on a trade. Had the Cavs moved Kevin Love, they would have been interested in acquiring Derrick Favors as part of a trade.
Sirius XM NBA: “Kevin is a big part of what we do. I talk to Kevin and we’re not worried about the outside noise.” -Tyronn Lue on #Cavs keeping Kevin Love
TJ McBride: According to @Zach Lowe, the Denver Nuggets offered Gary Harris, Trey Lyles, and a protected 1st round pick to get Kevin Love. pic.twitter.com/ZjfHSk75TP
Hell-bent as he is on signing with the Lakers, George – according to a person with knowledge of his situation – is also the kind of prudent professional who won’t close a window of opportunity prematurely. So if the Cavs can convince Pritchard to either take on four-time All-Star forward Kevin Love or send him to a third team in exchange for more suitable assets, then George will play his heart out alongside LeBron James and remain open to the idea of re-signing next summer if James were also to return (or, perhaps, George could leave for Los Angeles with James at his side).
One of the Cavaliers’ plans to pry Paul George away from the Indiana Pacers was to trade Kevin Love to the Denver Nuggets, sources confirmed to cleveland.com. As first reported by ESPN, the Cavs engaged the Nuggets as a possible third team to facilitate a trade for the All-Star George on draft night, but a source said the discussion was “nothing serious” and “very unlikely” to happen now.
Sources told ESPN that the Cavaliers engaged in serious three-way trade discussions leading up to the NBA draft on a deal that would have brought them George from the Indiana Pacers and landed Kevin Love, George’s fellow Eastern Conference All-Star, with the Denver Nuggets.
The three teams ultimately could not agree to a final trade construction in time to complete a deal on draft night Thursday, but sources say the Cavaliers won’t abandon their trade pursuit of George.
Joe Vardon: I can confirm the Cavs did hold discussions to send Love to DEN and get PG from Indiana, on draft night. Source says “nothing serious”
The Nuggets, meanwhile, have made upgrading at power forward one of their offseason priorities, which is why they covet Love. Denver, according to sources, also hopes to crash the list of suitors for Los Angeles Clippers unrestricted free agent Blake Griffin and Atlanta Hawks unrestricted free agent Paul Millsap.
I’m told the Indiana Pacers don’t want Kevin Love, at least not right now. Their goal is young players and draft picks. They definitely want to trade Paul George. It would be a shock if they open the season with him on the roster. Indiana knows George will leave via free agency in the summer of 2018.
Love has been mentioned for the past two seasons in trade rumors involving New York’s Carmelo Anthony. Griffin never wanted to trade Love for Anthony, and there has been no indication the Cavs are pursuing such a deal now.
In either case, a third team would be involved and would take All-Star forward Kevin Love in exchange for the mix of picks and role players the Bulls and Pacers seek to rebuild in the event they choose to deal their franchise player.
It’s believed that the Cavaliers, by offering All-Star forward Kevin Love, could recruit a third team that would supply the sort of young players and/or draft picks sure to be more appealing to Chicago than the limited trade assets on Cleveland’s roster.
One league source told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, meanwhile, that the Cavaliers have already been offered George in a multi-team trade scenario that would cost them Love and involve an unnamed third team.
To part with either the 25-year-old Irving or the 28-year-old Love, both coming off All-Star seasons and on relatively economical long-term deals, without any verbal commitment from George that he planned to stay in Cleveland beyond 2018 would be “hard” to agree to, one source familiar with the Cavs’ thinking told ESPN.
How committed are the Cavs to Kevin Love going forward? Brian Windhorst: I think Griff [David Griffin] is probably pretty committed but it might not be his decision even if he’s back.
Dan Patrick Show: If the #Cavs get swept, @ChrisBHaynes thinks they’ll trade Kevin Love. Thoughts?
“Pins and needles. That’s why I’m saying. Let’s put it this way: if on day one next year it’s Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, and Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs will be like ‘okay, that’s going to be a challenge.’ If it’s Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Jimmy Butler, the Cavs might be out there saying ‘we may have to trade Kevin Love.'”
Anthony holds a no-trade clause and it’s unclear he would waive it (he has said he wants to stay in New York). Also, his salary is so high the Cavs would need to part with several roster players and likely find a third team. They have said privately they do not intend to trade the injured Kevin Love to the Knicks for Anthony.
Sources told Stein and Shelburne the Cavaliers maintain an interest in Anthony, but only if a deal can be struck without the Cavs surrendering Love. Anthony has a no-trade clause and would need to waive it before any deal can be consummated.
ESPN Cleveland: Isola: I understand why LeBron was mad. I was surprised how personal and nasty he got. #Cavs
ESPN Cleveland: Isola: I personally wouldn’t trade Kevin Love for Carmelo Anthony, straight up. #Cavs
Sam Amick: Addendum to @Jeff Zillgitt story: person close to LeBron James also adamantly denying Cavs star is willing to lose Kevin Love in a ‘Melo deal
Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony apparently do have something in common: LeBron James as an ally. According to a league source, LeBron is the one pushing the Cleveland Cavaliers front office to acquire Carmelo even if it means trading Kevin Love, which is something Cavs management is opposed to doing. Jackson is hoping to move Anthony prior to the Feb. 23 trading deadline and one player the Knicks have targeted is Love, who had 23 points with 16 rebounds in Cleveland’s win over the Knicks last Saturday.
Any deal for Anthony would require the Knicks’ leading scorer to waive his no-trade clause and the consensus is that Anthony would agree to play for the defending champs and his long-time friend LeBron.
The Cavs could look to recruit a third team but Cleveland is in no hurry to part with Love, an All-Star this season who is also younger than Anthony and serves a specific role on the team. And while Cleveland doesn’t want to alienate the NBA’s best player, the Cavs do have James under contract through the 2017-18 season.
With everything seemingly coming to a head in New York — facing off against the guy he has being linked to in those trade scenarios, Carmelo Anthony, and getting back on the court for a full game for the first time in more than a week because of his back — Love’s approach calmed it all down. “I didn’t really think about it,” said Love who added that neither Cavs coach Tyronn Lue nor general manager David Griffin has addressed any potential trade with him. “Maybe the silver lining was getting through the back injury and just going out there and playing. Had I not done that, I don’t know if it would have been different or not. It is the first game of a four-game road trip and get out there after missing a couple of games and just wanted to feel good.”
“As a teammate, I don’t feel sorry for him,” Channing Frye told ESPN. “Who cares about rumors? We love him. We know what he does for this team. He’s a Banana Republic model. … Dude, he’s fine. He’s absolutely fine. He knows that we have his back. “Just being out there and hooping is therapeutic, regardless of whether it’s a good game or bad game, you’re just looking at it as ‘I’m out here with my brothers, we’re competing at the highest level.’ …
Obviously things can change by the February 23 NBA trade deadline. But I hear the Cavs have “absolutely no intention” of trading Kevin Love. I also hear they have told Love there are no plans to trade him.
I mention this because the New York Knicks keep trying to deal Carmelo Anthony for Love. They also are keeping that rumor alive because they are looking to trade Anthony to other teams.
Kevin Love doesn’t believe the Cleveland Cavaliers will trade him. Despite weeks of rumors that the NBA champions have been in trade talks with the New York Knicks about a deal involving Carmelo Anthony for the All-Star forward, Love said Friday that he expects “to be here for a long time.” Love said he has grown accustomed to having his name in trade speculation.
The New York Knicks continue to pursue Kevin Love in advance of the Feb. 23 trade deadline despite the Cleveland Cavaliers’ unwillingness to part with the All-Star forward in a deal for Carmelo Anthony, according to league sources. Sources said the Cavaliers, meanwhile, do maintain an interest in Anthony — which would pair him with Cleveland star and close friend LeBron James — but only if a deal can be struck without the league’s reigning champions surrendering Love.
ESPN Cleveland: Windhorst: I don’t think we have heard the last of Carmelo Anthony and the #Cavs.
ESPN Cleveland: Windhorst: Tristan Thompson is more unmovable than Kevin Love, in my opinion but Love isn’t a player you can easily find. #Cavs
ESPN Cleveland: Brian Windhorst: “LeBron has an interest in playing with Carmelo Anthony, but he knows you can’t trade Kevin Love for him.”
Anthony Tolliver: If you were the GM of the Cavs would you make the Love for Melo trade? – Yes! Back to b…
The Knicks’ thinking, sources said, is that they would have gone to Anthony to discuss waiving his no-trade clause had Cleveland shown interest in the deal. Anthony is one of only three NBA players with a full-no trade clause in his contract, alongside Cleveland’s LeBron James and the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki.
Although James and Anthony are incredibly close and have both expressed interest in playing together someday, sources say Cleveland is not prepared to surrender Love to get Anthony after the role Love played in helping the Cavaliers win the first championship in franchise history in June.
The Knicks have tried — unsuccessfully — to engage the Cavaliers in Carmelo Anthony-for-Kevin Love trade talks in advance of the league’s Feb. 23 trade deadline, ESPN.com has learned. League sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday that the Knicks have approached the Cavaliers to gauge their interest in swapping All-Star forwards but were told that Cleveland is not interested in such an exchange.
Ryen Russillo: Sources have told me Cavs have no interest in Melo and wouldn’t trade Love for him. The Melo to CLE thing ain’t happening.
Stephen A. Smith: The New York Knicks want to get rid of Carmelo Anthony. They want to get rid of him bad. They are willing to take Kevin Love, who’s had back injuries, knee injuries… I mean, Lord knows whatever. Body is supposedly breaking down.
Cleveland general manager David Griffin did not want to move Love but understood if he wanted to leave, maybe for a place where he could be the sole superstar again. Griffin said as much in the trainers’ room at Quicken Loans Arena on Feb. 10, where Love was undergoing treatment for an injured shoulder while the Cavaliers played the Lakers. “I want to be a champion,” Love replied.
The slightest hint of unhappiness got rumor mills churning and opened up hope for fans of some star-deprived franchises that a former high-scoring double-double machine could be had with the right combination of draft picks and serviceable talent. “It’ll never be gone. It’s just something that you live with. We have so much hype and media, and the good and the bad surrounding this team, and it just comes with the territory,” Love said. “Trade rumors, I don’t know. We lose a couple of games … I don’t know. I’m here, man, and I plan on being here a long time.”
Love came into camp with a more sculpted physique than in the past, having spent the summer working out with Cavs training staff members in both Park City, Utah, and Los Angeles. While he was getting his body right for the season, trade rumors persisted. Did he hear them? “Trade rumors, you know, I don’t know,” an apoplectic Love said. “You lose a couple games … No, I don’t know how to answer that. No. I’m here, man. I plan on being here a very long time.”
But Love, in Cleveland — it works. And yet, the Internet still really wants to see Love traded. “That’s just something that you live with,” Love said. “We have so much hype and media and the good and the bad surrounding this team and it just comes with the territory. So, I love this team, love the coaching staff, my teammates, the organization. I mean, I don’t think it will ever leave but frankly, I don’t really give a s—.”
Once again, there are some silly trade rumors. I’ve been told since the middle of last season the Cavs have no intention of trading Love. And the same is true after the title. Had the Cavs collapsed in the playoffs, certainly a trade of Love or almost anyone not named LeBron James would have been possible. But the goal for General Manager David Griffin has been to “bring back the band,” as he’s called it several times. Love is not going anywhere as the training camp looms late in September.
While there are no shortage of suitors who would take on Love’s contract, sources close to the Cavs say moving him is not even remotely a consideration.
As for trading Love, there is no sense that the Cavs are even listening to offers. Like Cousins, he is a name you can simply remove from the discussion.
The Cavs are happy to talk to Wade, but they don’t have a lot of options without dramatically overhauling the roster. As of now, they can only offer Wade the taxpayer’s midlevel exception worth $3.47 million. He can command more than $20 million annually from other teams in free agency. The Cavs can’t offer Wade that much without a dramatic move, such as trading Kevin Love. Not even dumping Iman Shumpert and his $9.7 million will free up the necessary cap space to pursue Wade with anything other than the taxpayer’s midlevel.
Tyronn Lue on Kevin Love’s future with the Cavs: “He’s going to be here. (…) He was great for us all season long. (…) Throughout the playoffs, for the first three rounds, he was big. (…) And then with all the negativity, he comes into Game 7 and has 14 rebounds, a big stop on Steph Curry at the end of the game… Kevin Love is going to be here. We want him here, he’s a big part of what we’re doing and what we’re trying to do going forward.”
But it’s not clear that they have interest in dealing at all. The Cavs’ long run to this championship certainly erases any immediate deal for Love—they’re not going to trade the guy at the draft, obviously—but that’s not much of an issue since the Cavs were never going to move Love for draft picks. The league executive speculated that if some deal gets seriously discussed, it probably won’t be until after Summer League and maybe not even until during or after the Olympics in August.
The Boston Celtics, who have been linked to Kevin Love for at least two years, may not have abandoned their pursuit of him. Danny Ainge attend a workout with Excel Sports Management clients in New York City recently and met with prominent agent Jeff Schwartz, a league source told RealGM’s Andrew Perna. Schwartz represents Love, as well as Harrison Barnes, who will be a restricted free agent this summer.
Brandon Ingram, the presumed No. 2 pick in next week’s draft is also a client of Excel, but Ainge is believed to have inquired with Schwartz about whether a trade for Love could be revisited. The Celtics hold the third, 16th and 23rd picks in the draft, as well as five second-round picks.
Two wins to go for Golden State, and perhaps two more games for Love in Cleveland. A humiliating defeat needs a scapegoat, and Love walks around these days with a wide target on his back. If changes are demanded this offseason, Love will be the asset pushed in trades needed to make them. As one league executive told The Vertical, “If they go out like this, I’m betting on a Kevin Love auction.”
Whether the Cavs should really pay Love and Thompson $36 million combined to scrounge crunch-time minutes is a question for the offseason. Boston made an offer for Love at the deadline, sources have told ESPN.com, and though the Cavs found it disatisfying, the Celtics may call again if other stars higher on their list aren’t available.
The Nuggets are well-positioned to restock Cleveland with draft picks and veteran players in their prime that can thrive in the up-tempo, space-the-floor game that the Cavaliers ultimately want to make part of their DNA. The Nuggets organization probably has just two untouchable players — rookies Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic — clearing a path for it to do whatever it feels is fair in potential packages in an attempt to trade for Love.
ESPN Cleveland: Stephen A. Smith says it’s an “absolute guarantee” that if the #Cavs don’t win a title this year then at least one of the big three will be gone.
As for his purported adoration for Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Ainge said he laughs at many of the rumors that floated over the last two weeks. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there and flat out false rumors and interest in certain players,” Ainge said. “I don’t know where the media has their sources because I believe sometimes it’s just completely made up. Kevin is a good player. There’s no question about it. He’s an All-Star. He’s a very good player on a very good team right now.”
Despite Griffin’s constant dismissal, Love’s named was tossed around in trade speculation. The power forward heard the chatter during the All-Star break, but never believed any of it. “I mean, the same thing was said last year,” Love said of the rumors. “The fact is you guys are stuck with me. I’m here. I’m happy to be here. Want to win.”
And word is the Celtics would also be unwilling to part with the Nets’ pick if the Cavaliers choose to be more interested in making Kevin Love available. The C’s have never really stopped being interested in Love after their hot pursuit in the summer of 2014 when he was with the Timberwolves, and it was reported here that if Cleveland didn’t come through with the big contract last summer, Love would have been looking at Boston as a landing spot.
But now with his large deal in place and physical questions (sources say a knee problem may be more of an issue than his back or shoulder), how much would the C’s be willing to offer? And, again, that presupposes the Cavs change their stance and look harder and what Love could bring back on the open market.
Cleveland’s growing interest in New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson bodes well in Boston’s seemingly never-ending quest to acquire Kevin Love in what’s shaping up to be a potential three-team deal that would include the Boston Celtics. The particulars of the deal are still in the discussion phase, but the end result if it comes to pass would send Love to Boston, according to a league source.
Frank Isola: Cleveland remains very active. Cavs in talks with Pelicans about Ryan Anderson. A 3-team deal that includes Kevin Love still in play.
MacMullan feels the Celtics and Danny Ainge will make another run at Kevin Love. She feels Love has gotten a “raw deal” in Cleveland, but ultimately she doesn’t think Love will be dealt because of where the Cavaliers are at in the standings. “I do believe that Danny is going to make another run at Kevin Love because we know that he’s coveted Love all along,” MacMullan said. “The one thing that I think is interesting about Love, everybody is down on him — well, he stretches the floor, which we know Brad Stevens likes, right? Well, he can’t defend and I don’t know how you guys feel about real plus/minus, I tend to be a fan and I am sure the Celtics have things that are much more sophisticated than what we use at ESPN for real plus/minus, but just for the heck of it, I looked it up this morning on Kevin Love. He’s 12th overall in the league. That is pretty good.
“I would be thrilled if the Celtics could bring Kevin Love here, I just don’t think it’s going to happen. If I am Cleveland, I’m the best team in the East and we all know every team — Golden State, San Antonio, they are one injury away from being vulnerable, I’m standing pat for the most part.”
The Celts do have interest in both Love and Horford; the question is price. And the expectation continues to be that, while the C’s would go higher for Love than Horford, their present teams want more than Ainge will give.
ESPN Cleveland: Windhorst: Teams are calling about Kevin Love. I don’t think there is a deal out there to make the #Cavs that much better.
ESPN Cleveland: Windhorst: The #Cavs have made it clear, for Kevin Love- teams need to bring a star studded offer.
But league sources say that the Cavs have made it clear to interested teams — starting, of course, with the Love-hungry Boston Celtics — that they’d covet a star in return if or when they do reach the point of letting Love go … and not a package of draft picks and role players like the Celtics are offering.
In the event that rumored talks of the Cavaliers somehow seeking to trade Kevin Love in return for Carmelo Anthony needed to be put to bed, LeBron James did just that on Saturday. “It’s false. That’s the only thing I can look at and see, it’s false,” James said Saturday in Toronto, after the East’s practice in preparation for Sunday’s 65th NBA All-Star Game in Toronto. “And that’s the last thing I was worrying about right now, and that’s trade talks for our team.”
Anthony, of course, plays the wing, like James, only he’s been hobbled by injuries, plays little defense, and dominates the ball – the virtual antithesis of what the Cavs need. A high-ranking Cavs official said Saturday there was a “zero percent” chance the team would do what it was reportedly seeking to do. “Total nonsense. Absolutely not discussed,” said the source, who was given anonymity to speak freely about team affairs.
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