Sagar Trika: Lowe still thinks Cleveland will get a fir…

Sagar Trika: Lowe still thinks Cleveland will get a first round draft pick for Love. Mentions Portland as a suitor and says Phoenix might sniff around.

More on Kevin Love Trade?

The Cavs are open for business, and that’s no surprise. The have seven players with expiring contracts, and they’re trying to recoup assets they lost during the LeBron James-era title chases. If you've paid attention, they did the same last season. Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson are veterans who could be on the move if the deal is right.
It is difficult for Boston to cobble together enough salary to add a major piece without including one of its core players. Boston does have Daniel Theis ($5M), Enes Kanter ($4.8M), all its own first-rounders and additional picks from Milwaukee and Memphis, but that's not enough money to target a player like the Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge or the Cavaliers' Kevin Love -- unless Boston is willing to put Marcus Smart or Gordon Hayward in a deal, which is unlikely to happen.
Sunday, of course, is the first day players who were acquired in the offseason are eligible to be traded, even though Neil Olshey, the team’s top executive, said this week there is nothing brewing. That hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from heating up, which has included one report saying Kevin Love would prefer a trade to Portland. That rumor apparently reached the eyes and ears of Whiteside, who during Tuesday’s game against New York was shouting during play to Anthony that “Kevin Love doesn’t rebound like that!” “And Kevin Love doesn’t block shots like that, either,” Whiteside said Thursday when asked about the Tuesday exchange. “The trade talk … it don’t enter my mind a lot. I was more just messing with Melo. I’m not thinking about it. If we are struggling on defense and you want to (trade him), I mean, good luck. Good luck with that.”
As the Cavaliers figure out their direction under new coach John Beilein, Kevin Love is in limbo. He is the most notable veteran player on a team that is in a transition period, but he has three years and over $90 million left on his contract. As we reported in our Inside Pass on Monday, Love prefers a trade to a contending team. He has his contract extension, but that deal and the Cavaliers’ asking price is what is giving interested teams major pause, I’m told.
The Cavaliers are going to have a difficult time trading Kevin Love because of his mammoth contract, multiple league sources have told The Athletic. Love is in the first year of a four-year, $120 million extension he signed in the weeks after LeBron James left.
Love has been mentioned frequently, but is a question mark. There was a report that Portland is his favored destination, but I have not been able to substantiate that and, in fact, have been told by people close to him that the report is not necessarily true. And the other concern with Love – who is obviously a terrific player with championship pedigree – are his injuries. Over his last three seasons, he has played 60, 59, and 22 games. At an average salary of $30.1 million over the next three seasons, his availability is a concern.
Love would prefer to play for his hometown Portland Trail Blazers, according to multiple league sources. The Blazers make perfect sense as a destination for Love; they need help for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum after the team has been decimated by injuries. Last week, Rodney Hood suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon, joining Jusuf Nurkic (broken leg) and Zach Collins (dislocated left shoulder) on the sideline. Nurkic will return this season, and Love would be a terrific frontcourt partner because of his perimeter shooting and playmaking ability. Portland could then play big upfront, which would be valuable in a series against a team with a bigger frontcourt, like the Lakers. Or, it could go with Love at center, which could be useful against the Rockets, who often size down with P.J. Tucker at center.
"Nothing's changed," Love told ESPN after Cleveland's morning shootaround at TD Garden. "What I mean by that is, since I got here they've been ... since I f------ got here there's been talk of me being traded, so it's nothing different. If they decide to go that way, I've just got to know it's part of the business, or if we decide to go that way, it's part of the business." "Truthfully, I don't know how it's going to play out, because I see both sides," he added.
As the lone player over 30 on a roster featuring six players under 25, four players in their first or second-year and a first-year coach in John Beilein, Love's name stands out as Cleveland's most obvious trade candidate. "I imagine, in a rebuild, it's easy to look at it, especially when it's down and out at this point, and say, 'Hey, we want to completely reset the deck and go young,'" Love told ESPN. "I understand that. "But despite that, whether it's five months or five years, I'm always going to be able to come back to Cleveland no matter what, and I'll always love the fans, and be part of this organization, one way or another."
Cavaliers forward Kevin Love prefers a move to a contending team, league sources tell The Athletic. Cleveland has been open to engaging in discussions with teams, as ESPN reported on Friday. Love has three years and $90 million remaining on his contract after this season.
According to various reports, players like Dennis Schroeder, DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love could be made available via trade by their respective teams. The Knicks, per a source, are keeping their 'eye on a lot of players' as we enter trade season.
As NBA trade possibilities expand beginning Dec. 15, the Cleveland Cavaliers are expressing a willingness to listen to trade offers for All-Star forward Kevin Love, league sources told ESPN. Cleveland is open to the idea of moving Love before the Feb. 7 trade deadline should the Cavaliers find a requisite package of young assets and/or future draft picks, league sources said.
Alex Kennedy: The Cleveland Cavaliers are ready to listen to trade offers for Kevin Love, according to @Adrian Wojnarowski. The Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers have shown interest in Love in the past, as Woj noted, so perhaps they could be possible landing spots for him now.
His journey to the Trail Blazers was less complicated. Portland had a clear need for a four-man, and many rival executives believed the organization would target Oklahoma City’s Danilo Gallinari or Cleveland’s Kevin Love in a trade after the loss of Collins. But as the losses piled up, and its franchise star Damian Lillard clearly needed more support, Portland needed to acquire someone immediately. The Trail Blazers made the call to Anthony and his representative, and one question remained within Anthony: Is this real — or a waste of time?
Even with him, the Cavs are likely a long shot for a playoff spot in the East. But Love insists that he isn't forcing a change. "I've been committed to Cleveland since Day 1," Love said. "I know it's been a little shaky at some points. It's been really great at some points. But now I've found some semblance of balance in my life, not only on the court but away from it."
But going public with the details of his panic attack — and his ongoing involvement in the conversation about the need to take care of mental health — has not left Love feeling vulnerable. He's more at peace than anything else, and that's why the rumors that are out there aren't gnawing at him. "I'm just going to let the chips fall," Love said. "I know that this is a young team. I think I can help them. I'm going to do right by Cleveland, the organization. This is a league where teams want to rebuild, teams want to go young but certain teams are looking for a piece, a guy who's played in the finals, a guy who has playoff experience. I don't know what's going to happen, but I think it definitely lessens the burden and the anxiety."
After the departures of James and Irving, Love became the face of the franchise when he signed a four-year, $120-million contract extension last year. Cleveland, however, is a rebuilding team and there has been talk Love could be dealt to a team looking to make a championship push. “I know there’s talk about me possibly being the missing piece somewhere,” Love said. “There’s been constant chatter since I signed that I could be traded. It’s one of those things where I’m going to keep doing right by the team, by Cleveland and by the organization. If my number is called, so be it, but I’m going to stay true to my commitment and let the chips fall where they may.”
Point blank: Is there interest in dealing Love? “No. Not at all,” Altman said quickly. While Love is Cleveland’s most valuable trade chip, there are others. That list starts with five players on expiring contracts: Knight, Henson, Dellavedova, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson.
The Cavs continue to get calls about Love. The phone will likely ring throughout the season, up until the trade deadline and then again in the summer -- if he’s still in Cleveland that long. Signing Love to a lucrative four-year extension was Altman’s first big move, the tone-setter after James left for Los Angeles. Some scoffed at the decision, believing Love didn’t fit -- and still doesn’t -- on a young team not positioned to win for a few more years. The NBA is unpredictable, but Altman talks the same way he did more than a year ago -- seeing Love anchoring this turnaround.
While Love is Cleveland’s most valuable trade chip, there are others. That list starts with five players on expiring contracts: Knight, Henson, Dellavedova, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson. “We are still in evaluation mode with our team, with the new parts, the staff and the offense. We like our guys,” Altman said. “There’s no sense of urgency to rush to do anything. I think last year was a little bit different in terms of we knew we wanted to recoup a lot of different draft assets. Where we are now: We have great flexibility, we’re one of four teams that has over $20 million in cap space next summer, so we’re not in any rush to do anything drastic.”
He’s no longer the willing follower. He’s the quiet leader. While rumors constantly fly about his future, Love is exactly where he wants to be, where he chose to be two summers ago. He has no interest in that changing. “I do want to be here. I always have,” Love told cleveland.com in an exclusive one-on-one interview. “I say that knowing it’s the NBA and it’s a business. I think especially after seeing last year, the summer leading up to last year and this summer, the changeover is like unprecedented so you don’t know what is going to happen.
The Cavs’ stance on Love hasn’t changed. If the right trade offer comes they will certainly consider it. But according to sources, the Cavs have to be “blown away” with a package combining players and picks. While the phone continues to ring -- other executives trying to pry away the Cavs’ cornerstone -- the organization places great value, both in the short and long term, on Love’s far-reaching impact on the youngsters.
According to sources, Love even reported to camp early, another example of his all-in approach. It was “huge” to have him around for those few extra days, according to one member of the organization, and it wasn’t overlooked by coaches or teammates. Love’s learned over the years that everyone has their own leadership style. He’s not trying to emulate anyone else. He’s just being himself and it’s working well.
“If they decide to go completely young … and that could be the case, but it’s funny, my agent didn’t call me one time this summer to say, ‘Hey, you’re getting traded, there’s talks that this is happening.’ Of course, somehow it’s still out there and people are talking about, ‘Oh, Kevin would be great here or great there.’ I just keep it moving and try to do right by these guys because we have a good group.”
“It’s kind of like the same thing with rumors. I know things come up, you would see certain things or people would ask me and I would just be like, ‘I don’t know. I don’t have a call. Nobody has been having this conversation with me.’ Until that time comes just keep my head down and keep moving.” That’s what Love has done. A few days ago, while talking with teammate Matthew Dellavedova, it hit him -- He’s the oldest player on the roster.
Of course, Boston is a potential player in any trade negotiation because of its two young wings, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum is likely untouchable, but with Brown entering a contract year and playing a similar position, he could be the centerpiece of a deal for Beal or Love. Even without those two, a package such as the Memphis pick, Boston’s own first and either Grant Williams or Romeo Langford would be a compelling asset package, one that would potentially tempt teams to swallow the rest of Hayward’s deal and send the Celtics a high-level starter.
Greg Swartz: Kevin Love on trade rumors: "There's always going to be that noise. That's going to continue this year because we do have a young team. I've got four years left on this deal. Until that time comes or if it ever comes I'm going to be me."
Love’s absence is no big deal. Head coach John Beilein said he was expected to connect with the team’s high-priced offensive centerpiece at some point soon. But it didn’t stop the trade chatter. Many around the NBA are incredulous when it comes to the Cavs' stance, especially with so many teams taking an all-in approach this summer, believing Golden State splitting up makes for a wide-open title race.
The answer still hasn’t changed. While it’s not wise to use the never term in this ever-changing league, the Cavs don’t want to trade Love. No, there aren’t any untouchables on this roster. Prized rookie Darius Garland would be the closest to that. If the Cavs are blown away by a Love offer and receive the package that meets their demands then, of course, they would consider it. It would be foolish not to. According to sources, the Cavs would want some combination of young players and draft picks. Not one or the other. Both.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are unlikely to trade Kevin Love this summer, but the Portland Trail Blazers have reportedly inquired in the past. Earlier this month, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz described trading for the Portland-born big man as “well worth the risk” for the Trail Blazers. Following this speculation, Mike Richman reported that Portland inquired about the hometown hero, but the interest was not mutual from Cleveland (via Locked on Blazers):
“Last summer, the Blazers went into the offseason with very little of value. They had a bunch of big contracts with multiple years left. They didn’t have many enticing young players to make trades, they did not have a high draft pick to do things. But the thing they did have was a fairly large trade exception that was going to expire. And they spent much of the early part of the offseason calling around to teams trying to get them to give away big contract money so they could absorb it with that trade exception. And the Blazers were willing to pay a fat luxury tax and figure it out. One of the teams that they called last summer was the Cleveland Cavaliers… At that time last summer, the Cavs told the Blazers they did not want to make that trade.”
You’re not the only one sending the Kevin Love trade questions. But I don’t know how many other ways I can write this response before it resonates. Love is not one of the players the Cavs are looking to deal. They want him here. They believe his professionalism and leadership are important. He’s the kind of player any team should want around a young group because of the daily example he sets. Would the Cavs move him in the right deal? Sure, they would consider it. No one should be labeled untouchable this early into the rebuild. But each time the Love question is raised, the same response quickly follows. “How are we a better team without Kevin?”
I did a quick survey among five NBA executives asking in the abstract if they would trade for Love’s contract in a deal this summer without the Cavaliers adding additional value to sweeten the pot (for example: by Cleveland taking on a bad contract from the opposing team or by adding a draft pick in addition to Love). The five executives all said no, variously noting that the length of the deal, Love’s potential regression curve as a player because of age, and the uncertainty regarding his injuries as significant deterrents to such a move. Two of the executives noted that it only takes one team and one general manager to look back at Love’s productive history and think that it would be a valuable move. All of them noted that they still thought Love was a good, useful NBA player. But the overall tenor was that it would be difficult to move him on this contract for a positive return.
In order to try and ballpark a valuation on how under water Love’s deal is, I additionally crowdsourced from the executives what contract they thought Love would get on the open market if he was a free agent this season. Nobody thought he would get four years due to the age and injury history, with the estimates falling in the three year, $60-65 million range. Three executives said they would not go beyond two guaranteed years, but two of those noted that they would be willing to add a non-guaranteed third year (Paul Millsap’s deal came up as an example with both). When asked to specifically ballpark a four-year deal, executives put it in the $70 million range, given the significant diminishing returns of a potential fourth season at 34 years old. No one said more than $75 million. Therefore, it’s fair to say that NBA teams around the league see Love’s deal as about $50 million under water.
Six months after signing his massive four-year, $120 million contract extension, the Cleveland Cavaliers can legally deal their injured power forward if they so choose. According to sources, the Cavs' stance on keeping Love hasn't changed. They want him in Cleveland. They value what he can bring on the court when healthy and his leadership and set-the-tone work ethic behind the scenes has been very important. He wants to stay with the team as well.
Who are the next Cavaliers to get moved? Chris Fedor: This is the question that so many are asking. So let’s start here: There’s interest from other teams in All-Star power forward Kevin Love. Sources tell me that the Cavs have received calls about him. It’s the same thing that typically happens with him around this time of year. He's used to it. As I’ve written numerous times, it will take close to the perfect deal for the Cavs to pull the trigger.
Chris Fedor: They want Love around, hoping he can be the rock during this new era. He’s their All-Star. Those inside the organization recognize his value. The decision-makers also understand how difficult it is to acquire those high-level players. When you have one, and he is under team control for a number of years, why give that up? What's the rush? Of course, teams will continue to show interest. He’s a floor-spacing double-double machine. He’s a five-time All-Star. He’s an Olympic gold medalist. When he returned to the practice floor recently, it struck me how much more talented he is than every other player currently on this Cavaliers roster. Unless the Cavs get a treasured offer from an asset-heavy team (rumored teams like Dallas and Charlotte don't really fit this criteria), one with some combination of high draft picks and young, controllable players on team-friendly deals, Love will likely stick around.
"It's a lot to ask someone to take on $144 million for a 30-year-old with an injury history," one of the execs told Bleacher Report. "You're dealing with a very small, narrow marketplace for him." Love's extension, which kicks in next season, brought his five-year guaranteed salary to $144 million. He'll make $28.9 million next season, then the deal levels off at $31.3 million the next two years and goes back to $28.9 million in the final season, when Love will be 34.
“We’ll see,” Love said, when asked about the prospect of a trade. “If not, we will wait until summer. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve said all along I’ve wanted to be here. I’ve said this too, it’s a business. We saw that last year at the deadline. I had never seen so many guys traded from a team really ever.”
Love signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension in July. He expects his name will surface in trade talks ahead of the deadline like it does every year. "I would love to be here," Love said. "I would like to play ball here."
Sources reiterated to cleveland.com recently that trading Love is not high on the Cavaliers' list of priorities. The front office has not had deep discussions about that. Even in the midst of this losing season, dropping to the worst record in the NBA, the Cavs' vision hasn't changed.
The latest chatter comes from Marc Stein of the New York Times. He wrote on Tuesday about the Denver Nuggets having a "longstanding fondness" for Love. "Would I be surprised," Drew asked when the conversation of Cleveland trading Love came up following Thursday's practice. "As far as trades are concerned, I understand the nature of this business. Anybody can be traded. I've been in this league long enough where I've seen that happen. I think any deal that makes sense for any team, sure, they'll be willing to pull the trigger. But that's just the nature of our business.
"Around this time is always an exciting time because you start hearing names floating around, all the possibilities and the probables and the what ifs and 99 percent of the time none of it happens. Trade deadline time is always, as a player you get a little antsy. When I played, I got a little antsy because there was always the possibility. That's just how the business is, that deadline, people get excited, things start floating around and that's just how it is."
Front-office executives don’t expect Love to garner any strong offers until he actually gets back on the court and shows he can live up to his salary by being a featured scorer. Love is 30 and didn’t score efficiently through his first four games this season before suffering his toe injury. Love shot only 11-for-23 on shots inside the restricted area, 3-for-18 from midrange, and 7-for-24 from 3—totaling just a measly 0.86 points per possession.
The Cavs aren't interested in trading Kevin Love unless they get blown away by an offer. They signed him to a lucrative extension this off-season and it wasn't a deal solely about this year. They want him around for the long haul, when Collin Sexton is more mature, when other youngsters are added and the vision comes into focus.
Love, who is 30 and has missed at least 20 games due to injury in the last three seasons, wants to play. Like the rest of the team’s veterans, he was upset by the turn in direction of the franchise and spent some extended time away for the first few weeks following surgery, but wants to stay in Cleveland and has not asked for a trade. However, he sees a scenario in which he could be traded, if the Cavs wanted and were able to acquire a package of picks, younger players and tradeable contracts.
Cavs officials, speaking on background, said there has been no discussion of trading Love and they want him to be on the court with rookie Collin Sexton. Rival league executives point to Love’s contract — he’s making $24.2 million this season — and his injuries as roadblocks to him being moved.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN, while on an appearance on The Really Big Show on ESPN 850 WKNR with Tony Rizzo, Aaron Goldhammer and Eric Williams, said the reeling Cavaliers (1-10) could indeed find a market for the five-time All-Star at the league’s Feb. 7 trade deadline, should he be healthy. Love underwent surgery on his left foot Nov. 2 and according to the team, will be re-evaluated in six weeks. “If they wanted to trade him, they could,” Windhorst said. Even coming off surgery? “Yes. Absolutely. There is interest in Kevin Love in this league,” Windhorst said. “Would it be the best time to trade him? I don’t believe so, no. I don’t believe you could get your best value then.”
“I’ve talked to general managers out there who are interested in trading for Kevin Love, right now,” Windhorst said. “Maybe not this moment, but they maintain in trading for him this season, if he’s healthy. “The Cavs would be able to get pieces for him. I don’t necessarily think they’d be great pieces. When you have a guy under a $100 million contract who is injured, you worry about whether you’d have to ‘incentivize’… it’s what’s known as ‘incentivizing’ where you’d have to add something to the deal like a draft pick or something to sweeten the pot for a team to the player off your hands.”
Lowe: "I will tell you, I predicted in my 37 random, wild, crazy predictions column that they trade Kevin Love, or at least try to. I've talked to dozens of people around the league, when I see people at games, I talk to them about many topics including this. I will say, I'm almost surprised at how strongly the consensus is that he's borderline untradable at that [contract] number. I hear that from everyone I talk to."
What are the chances Kevin Love gets dealt. Chris Fedor: "It didn’t take long for this question to come, huh? First, Kevin Love can’t legally be traded until the end of January -- six months from the date of his contract extension. Any calls for him to be dealt now, in hopes the team will quickly go into tank mode, are futile. It would take a lot for the Cavs to get to that point anyway. They have spoken for months about Love’s importance. He is the team’s best player and bona fide leader. He's also the focal point of the offense, a guy who helps lift pressure off Collin Sexton and some of the other younger players so they don't have to garner the full attention from opposing defenses."
What are the chances Kevin Love gets dealt. Chris Fedor: "For the Cavs to even consider moving the five-time All-Star, they would have to be blown away. And it's hard to envision another team being that enamored with Love. Not only is he off to an inefficient start, but he's been dealing with nagging soreness in his left foot for nearly a month. Given his long history of injuries and his age (30), this latest ailment doesn't help. Nor does his contract. ... This is the NBA. You never say never. The Cavs may very well be unable to recover from this slow start. It's possible that they stay near the bottom of the standings all season. But however this goes in the next few months, Love is down the list of players they’d want to deal. Untouchables? For the right player, I’m not sure there are any."
With that in mind, keep an eye on Kevin Love as the potential first major trade chip to be moved in the non-Jimmy Butler category. Yes, Love signed a long-term extension with Cleveland this summer. But as Blake Griffin showed last year, that just means he could be more attractive to another team as a trade chip.
Zach Lowe: Obligatory reminder Cavs cannot trade Love until 6 months after the date he signed his extension. They owe a first-round pick to the Hawks already. Not sure how they get a Butler deal done, but the NBA always surprises.
Scout's Take: "Oh, God, I didn't like it. $30 million for Kevin Love? I like Kevin, but he doesn't have LeBron anymore, and he's going to have to carry the load. He'll be back like [he was in] Minnesota, getting big numbers on a bad team. He might get 20 rebounds a game because they'll miss a lot. He'll definitely be one of the leading rebounders this season. "I'd trade him with that contract and try to get assets. Five years at $30 million a year? I wouldn't want him at that. If he were making $21 million, $22 million or even $23 million, sure, but not $30 million. That's a max player. He's not a max player. He's not a franchise player; he's probably the third guy on a really good playoff team. I doubt he would have gotten that contract from anyone else. He's a really good player, but I don't like it for $30 million."
Marc Stein: From @Albert Nahmad on @Kevin Love: Love’s four-year, $120M extension, starting in 2019-20, is $9.7M less than his four-year, $129.7M max extension (and far under the five-year, $221M max contract he theoretically could sign next summer). Love can’t be traded for six months.
Joe Vardon: "I believe that if the correct market were there for Kevin Love, I think [the Cavaliers] would be more aggressive to move him. But maybe there isn't a market for him now - certainly there isn't to what they think is worth trading him."
Joe Vardon: "[Speaking of] behind the scenes, I listed off the names of people that were out there in Vegas - and there are other people... who were out there whose names I didn't mention - and every indication that you got when talking to all these people is that this is the M.O. - the [Cavaliers] front office has communicated to all their players that they intend to compete this year."
Joe Vardon: "They've told Kevin Love that they don't plan to trade him and there's been discussions with JR Smith and even Kyle Korver, who virtually everyone has circled as a trade candidate, getting them ready to come back to camp. They certainly could move one or more of those guys (I certainly don't see a move for Kevin right now), and yeah, it really seems like this is what has been communicated to all the players involved, that they're gonna try this out."
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.
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."
"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.
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.
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.
Storyline: Kevin Love Trade?
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