Two wins to go for Golden State, and perhaps two more g…

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.”

More on Kevin Love Trade?

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.
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.
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.
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.
There was even a report Friday night Boston and Cleveland had “very preliminary talks’’ about whether to ask the Knicks if they wanted to join a three-way trade with Anthony that included Kevin Love, with Anthony going to Cleveland. An NBA source told The Post the Knicks had not been approached by the teams, and there was “nothing to it.” The report also stated talks did not progress.
Those talks have not progressed. Plus Anthony reiterated on Friday that he has no plans to seek a trade. However, when asked if he's thought about his future with a losing organization, Anthony gave a cryptic answer. “Not yet. I'm pretty sure I'll have that conversation with myself and my family and my team,” he said. “But it's not a conversation for right now.”
Boston has been quietly aggressive, with its well-chronicled array of assets, in search of the splashy move we all know team president Danny Ainge would love to make. But with Sacramento thoroughly unwilling to entertain offers for DeMarcus Cousins, and Cavaliers general manager David Griffin likewise emphatically shooting down the notion earlier this week of making Kevin Love available, there isn't a starry trade target for Ainge to chase. At least not yet.
No one has wanted to acquire Kevin Love more than Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, Wojnarowski says in the same podcast (The Vertical - scroll to 51-minute mark). Still, podcast guest and Yahoo colleague Chris Mannix suggests it’s too soon for the Cavs to trade Love, who just re-signed with the Cavs to a five-year max deal this past summer. Cavs GM David Griffin wants a versatile, defensive-minded wing player, Mannix hears, speculating that Jae Crowder would fit that bill.
Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said Monday the team is not involved in any trade talks regarding Kevin Love. "You'd have to go a long way to convince me that we're a better team winning in the Finals without a player like Kevin on our team," Griffin said in an interview on ESPN 850 AM in Cleveland. "We've never once put together an offer involving Kevin nor have we taken a call on an offer for Kevin."
"We think very highly of Kevin and we believe Kevin thinks very highly of this situation. But, I can also tell you that we have been very clear from the beginning that there's no such thing as untouchables," Griffin said. "You're either all the way in or all the way out in this process and we believe our guys are all the way in. If it remains that way then we are going to try and augment the group at the bottom and try to get some additional depth and that's what we'll do. We're not going to be afraid to do what needs to be done if something more significant comes along."
Executives around the league told Sporting News on Wednesday that Love eventually could wind up back on the trading block, but the Cavs needed to re-sign him rather than risk losing him for nothing in return. Thompson deserves a starting spot, and the Cavs are confident that, eventually, a smaller lineup with Thompson at center and Love at power forward will work.
Storyline: Kevin Love Trade?
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