Q: Where does Kevin Love end up? He’s from Oregon, went to college in Los Angeles and works out in Park City, Utah. Those could all be interesting destinations. What would be best for him? — Elliot Morris (Salt Lake City) Marc STEIN: The Cavaliers have been adamant that they’re not trading Love. This can be easily dismissed as posturing designed to convince interested suitors to step up their trade offers, but I tend to believe it. At least in the short term.
I talked to a well-known NBA executive about what the Cavs will do with their All-Star forward now that LeBron James has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. "Unless they get blown away by an offer, I think they'll open the season with Love," said the executive.
The Cave are rebuilding. So why not just deal Love right now? He turns 30 on Sept. 7. "Because I think he'll be more in demand during the season by the trading deadline," said the executive. "Kevin could have a very good year for the Cavs being the focal point of the offense. He is a talented player."
I talked to a well-known NBA executive about what the Cavs will do with their All-Star forward now that LeBron James has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. "Unless they get blown away by an offer, I think they'll open the season with Love," said the executive.
Love is in the final season of his $24 million contract. He has a player option of $25.6 million in 2019-2020. Unless Love suffers a cataclysmic injury, odds are he'll skip the player option and become a free agent in the summer of 2019. The Cave are rebuilding. So why not just deal Love right now? He turns 30 on Sept. 7. "Because I think he'll be more in demand during the season by the trading deadline," said the executive. "Kevin could have a very good year for the Cavs being the focal point of the offense. He is a talented player."
The executive said Love could be very appealing to a team needing a star to make the playoffs...or advance deeper in the post-season. That's especially true in the Eastern Conference, where more teams have post-season dreams since James went West to the Lakers. "The only downside would be if Love had a major injury," said the executive.
On Friday, Cavs general manager Koby Altman reaffirmed what team sources had said for weeks -- that the team does not intend to trade Kevin Love and try to lose this season as part of a hard rebuild without James. Lue, you may imagine, likes to hear that. "It feels good just to know that we still have a chance to be competitive," he said, adding: "We're not tanking and we're not trying to throw away games to get a draft pick or nothing like that."
Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman said he doesn't think trading Kevin Love "makes us better" now that LeBron James is gone, and laid out his case Friday against tanking.
"Kevin is an All-Star and you don't get better by moving Kevin," Altman said. "Kevin's been incredible for us for four years and he wants to be here, and to me that's a big part for guys that are here and the guys that we're gonna acquire, is that they want to be here and be a part of this new chapter and culture that we're creating."
The first roster decision will be determining Kevin Love’s future. He has one year left of team control, and despite the Cavs’ insistence they aren’t interested in trading him, multiple sources around the league have told The Athletic the Cavs are indeed shopping him.
Sources re-affirmed that position on Monday, for instance holding to the organizational line that Kevin Love is not on the trading block. Love is a five-time All-Star with two years and about $50 million left on his contract; pundits outside the organization believe he should be moved for younger, cheaper players and picks.
Zach Lowe: "What happens to Kevin Love now?" Brian Windhorst: "I investigated this a couple of days ago because I knew it was coming: the Cavs have told Kevin they don't intent to trade him. I think at this point, Kevin is fine with that because he's got one year left [on his deal] and then he's got an opt-out."
They’re certainly no longer championship contenders. Despite insistence from the organization that they are not interested in trading Love, multiple sources from around the league insist they are indeed open to moving him. It makes perfect sense to deal him now.
Five-time All-Star Kevin Love remains in the Cavaliers’ plans even if LeBron James elects to leave Cleveland for the second time when free agency opens at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
But should four-time league Most Valuable Player James depart, the Cavs intend to remain competitive and believe Love can lead a talented roster of veterans and up-and-coming young players. “The plan is not to go backwards,” one source said. That strategy would seemingly rule out major moves, such as trading draftee Collin Sexton, without knowing James’ intention for next season.
The Cavaliers do not intend to trade Kevin Love if they lose LeBron James in free agency this summer, and would rather try to make the playoffs than immediately begin rebuilding without their iconic star. Sources told cleveland.com this week that the Cavs would not trade Love, a five-time All-Star who is owed about $50 million over the next two seasons, if James leaves as a free agent. Sources say James is strongly considering joining the Los Angeles Lakers. "There is no reason to go backwards," one source said, describing the Cavs' situation.
If James does return to the Cavs, or signals to them that he wants to, no one on the roster would be untouchable from a trade perspective. Cleveland wants to develop its young talent -- including rookie point guard Collin Sexton -- but wouldn't pass up the right opportunity to add an established veteran with James to improve their chances of reaching another Finals, sources indicated.
John Gambadoro: There is no truth to the absurd rumors of the Suns making a blockbuster trade for Kevin Love with Cleveland. Nothing there.
The Cavaliers are not actively shopping All-Star forward Kevin Love heading into Thursday's NBA draft, multiple sources told ESPN on Wednesday. Furthermore, regardless of what decision LeBron James makes about his future in Cleveland, the Cavs have interest in keeping Love next season, sources said.
Sagar Trika: Woj: Cleveland would love to package Kevin Love + #8 and get something on draft night, but that package likely won't get them the star player they're hoping for. Notes Kevin Love's value is down and the Brooklyn first round pick is not as good as Cleveland had expected.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that the Cavaliers will make Love available in trade talks if James leaves Cleveland. "They fully make Kevin Love available," Windhorst said. "I bet they would look for a first-round pick in that trade. He's on the last year of a deal, so they don't want to take on money."
If LeBron James isn't on the Cleveland Cavaliers next season, there's a good chance Kevin Love won't be either. As ESPN's Brian Windhorst explained on The Hoop Collective (h/t RealGM), no current players are guaranteed spots if James decides to decline his player option for 2018-19. "They start over," Windhorst said of the Cavaliers. "They fully make Kevin Love available. I bet they would look for a first-round pick in that trade. He's on the last year of a deal, so they don't want to take on money."
"Yeah, I mean, I'd hope so," Love said in response about if he expects to be back in Cleveland. "I've always said that. I always wanted to be here. Always wanted to win here. But as you know, it's probably going to come up. It always does. It's also good to be wanted. But at the same time, it's going to be interesting to see what happens. We just don't know.
"My name has always come up and will always continue to come up in trade rumors," Love said. "I guess it's good to be wanted. But at the same time, I've enjoyed being here. I've enjoyed every year competing for a championship. ...We're looking for another run this year. But I don't think that stuff will ever stop. And that's OK. I mean I've come to come to terms with it and, you know, whatever happens happens, but for now I just want to try to win."
Tony Jones: Kevin love isn't coming to the jazz. The cavs haven't made him available to trade twitter.com/gallimoresean/…
A source with knowledge of the Blazers' deadline thinking told The Oregonian/OregonLive that McCollum is not -- and never will be -- going anywhere, even though his name has been attached to rumors involving Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers. That stance echoes past comments from Olshey, who has labeled his dynamic shooting guard off limits to interested parties.
The Cavs need youth, athleticism and defense. Clipper DeAndre Jordan has been mentioned, but he provides rim protection, not the on-ball defense the Cavs need. The loss of Kevin Love to a broken hand damages on multiple fronts. “Love was their guy that they could have made a big deal with,” one rival exec said, noting the other gem on the Cavs’ shelf — the Nets first-rounder acquired through Boston. “They don’t want to come off the Brooklyn pick, but who else would you trade for?”
Kevin Love, who will make $24.1 million next year, has a $25.6 million option for 2019-20. League sources believe the Cavs would try to move Love without James here, but no team sources have confirmed it.
Marc Stein: I was told adamantly this week that [the Cavaliers] were not going to move [Kevin Love]. Because I'd heard that they were open to it, and that they were looking at that dramatic of a restructuring if necessary. But when I posed it to people in the know there, I was shut down pretty vociferously. And now that the injury has occured, I don't think we're ever really gonna know the truth, because he becomes a lot harder to trade now that he can't play for another six weeks.
According to CBS Sports NBA analyst Raja Bell, a former Cavaliers executive, during Love's first year he was "as much of an outcast as you can be" and they even had a huge trade for him on the table. Bell recalled all of this in a discussion about Love on the Off The Bench with Kanell and Bell podcast.
Raja Bell: "When I was in Cleveland. Kevin Love was as much of an outcast as you can be on a team. It's the dynamic of being in a locker room that's just culturally a lot different than you. I say that and I think everybody understands black and white kind of deal.”
Raja Bell: “There was an element of that when I was in Cleveland. They figured that out, they put it to bed. LeBron went to L.A. had these conversations with Kevin Love, but it was so bad that first year that I was on a phone call with Dan Gilbert and our whole brass and we had a big deal on the table to move Kevin Love in the first year and I was like 'Move him' not because I didn't think he was a good player. I just couldn't see them figuring out how to work as people together."”
ESPN Cleveland: Windhorst: I want to make this 100% clear- I have not heard one, single word of Kevin Love being traded. But, if I were Kevin Love- I would question my future in Cleveland and call my agent about getting me out of here. #Cavs
"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."
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.
"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: 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.”
June 29, 2022 | 7:11 pm EDT Update
There’s no indication that the Heat wants to move on from 36-year-old Kyle Lowry – who is very close with Jimmy Butler – but Pat Riley has said that Lowry needs to get in better shape. The Heat has assured Lowry that it has no intention of trading him for Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, according to a source briefed on the situation. We’re told that Lowry wasn’t upset when Riley said publicly that his conditioning must improve.
Wizards All Star guard Bradley Beal declined his $36.4 million player option but has not requested a sign-and-trade to another team. The Heat would have interest in Beal if he asked to be traded to Miami. But as of Wednesday, he had not.
Power forward Bobby Portis opted out of his $4.6 million player option with Miwaukee, according to ESPN. According to a source, the Heat would be a team that appeals to him if he doesn’t sign with Milwaukee, but Miami is reluctant to give him or anyone the full mid-level exception, making Portis not likely for Miami. Portis can sign for four years and as much as $49 million with Milwaukee.
Todd Whitehead: Interesting nugget from Draymond’s appearance on Old Man and the Three: he credits Warriors turnaround to an emphasis on forcing Boston’s ball handlers to drive left. pic.twitter.com/6Of0QvthQi
June 29, 2022 | 6:55 pm EDT Update
The Lakers could also look to acquire players via trade, with rival executives believing Chicago’s Coby White could be a target. Moving Talen Horton-Tucker, a player whose ball-dominant skills are viewed by rival scouts as being redundant with the Lakers’ stars, could be a way to upgrade to suit the Lakers’ needs.
Jon Krawczynski: The Timberwolves have exercised the options for both Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell, sources told @TheAthletic. Expected moves for two good players who will each be under contract for about $1.9 million next season.