NBA rumors: Kevin Love staying in Cleveland?

Cleveland, entering Tuesday, had nothing percolating on the Love front, which isn’t much of a surprise with three years and $91.5 million left on his contract after this season. The Cavaliers will almost certainly have to wait until the summer to resume the search for a trade partner willing to absorb that sort of financial commitment when Love is 31 and regarded in some corners as injury-prone.

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The Clippers have been aggressive, no surprise considering they have the $11.5 million Mo Harkless contract and a first round pick to deal. Considering if LA doesn’t trade the pick it can’t deal another one until we colonize Mars, there is some urgency in the LA front office to get a deal done. The Clippers have kicked the tires on Kevin Love and could grab disgruntled Kings center Dewayne Dedmon, but neither are preferred options. There is some interest in Tristan Thompson in LA’s front office, per sources, as LA’s coaching staff has fretted about the team’s rebounding, particularly when Ivica Zubac is off the floor. Wing depth is a consideration for the Clippers, with Robert Covington and Iguodala among the possibilities discussed.
The Blazers seem satisfied to nibble around the edges at the deadline (Trevor Ariza has been remarkably useful) and try to make the playoffs with the current group. For what it’s worth, Love wasn’t all that enthralled with the idea of returning home to Oregon anyway, per sources.
Maybe that strong offer the Cavs aren’t currently expecting -- a combination of picks and players, perhaps both -- comes Thursday. If that’s the case, that would obviously change their plan. But the Cavs, sources say, will not do a salary dump -- even if other teams view a Love deal as them helping the Cavs, not the other way around. Cleveland isn’t interested in attaching a pick to Love. The franchise still views him as its best player, the most valuable trade chip. “Since the second I got here I’ve been in those talks,” Love said with a smile. “It’s easy for me, I’ve settled into who I am as a basketball player and a person, so I’m easy.”
The Twitter-sphere has already dealt him to Portland, Miami, Phoenix and Denver at various points. That’s one of the many things that makes this time of year tough on guys. “It always is,” Love admitted. “In the past it was a little bit different feel because I knew 100 percent nothing was going to happen with me. It’s just a weird time every year with teams that feel they like they have a chance or are that one piece or two pieces away. The trade deadline comes in every sport, I’m sure guys are kind of sitting there waiting, have half a bag packed. You never know.”
The Cavs appear to have very little market for Kevin Love right now, sources say. Everything is malleable until Thursday's deadline, but nothing appears serious on the Love front at this moment. The wild card was always Phoenix. The Suns are hard to predict. Rivals struggle to get a feel for the Suns' objectives.
For lottery-bound groups, this time of year is brutally tough because the primary decision-makers have to do what’s best long term. More than a few guys in that locker room sense the organization wanting to make a big shakeup, that the front office is “trying to trade Kevin and Tristan.” While it’s their job to block out any noise and focus solely on basketball, they are also human. On top of that, losing is really hard, especially home blowouts against lousy teams. There is such a thing as an acceptable loss in a rebuilding season. Saturday night, however, was not one.
So if Love’s short-term future may actually be with the Cavs, how would that sit with him? “I will be happy if I’m still here,” Love said following the Cavs’ 124-112 loss to the Washington Wizards on Thursday night. “I fully plan on continuing to help these guys, continuing to help -- Tristan (Thompson), myself, Larry (Nance Jr.) these guys, being a leader with all the veterans. And this place, Cleveland, the fans, they’ve been really, really good to me. So, yes.”
While he’s not unhappy every day, plenty of aspects this season -- and Cleveland’s general direction -- have “driven him crazy,” according to a source. He’s been most irritated with team’s “selfish” playing style and hasn’t handled that growing frustration in the best, most mature way. He’s admitted as much. It’s also fair to wonder whether the Cavs’ thinking has shifted as well. From the very beginning, they’ve wanted to be “blown away” by an offer for Love, believing he has immense value both in the short term and long term. They believed he would be a positive influence on the young players, showing them the way off the floor while also helping alleviate some of that pressure on the court.
Everyone is wondering the same. I could see both. I know it's not the answer anyone wants, but the Love situation is complex. The most challenging questions to answer, in no particular order, are these: Have his actions this season -- on and off the court -- necessitated a move? Is the relationship with him and the Cavs so dire that keeping him around would actually be harmful? Would he be understanding and stay locked in if the Cavs didn't trade him in a few weeks? [...] Internally, the Cavs were hoping his value would rise, believing Love would rebound and put up big numbers in Beilein’s system after an injury-riddled season a year ago. There were even some who felt the best offers would come after this season.
Part of the barrier is the Cavs’ view of Love doesn’t match the NBA’s view of him. Love wants to be traded. That has been his preference for at least a month. He wants to play for a winner, with teammates that are at the same stage of their career -- or at least closer -- when it comes to knowledge, experience and talent. The growing pains, both with young players and Beilein trying to make the transition from college to the pros, have worn on Love. He's still trying to manage his frustration. Sticking around beyond the deadline could cause him to explode again.
Love certainly could help the Blazers, or Pacers, or Rockets. But that contract is hard to match up in a way that makes sense for Cleveland, which understandably is asking for a lot in return. “I don’t think Kevin has a lot of value,” a Western Conference executive said Monday. “The contract is obvious, but you know he is going to miss games with the toll on his body… I don’t see teams taking Kevin on (without) at least taking back a first-round draft pick or multiple seconds.”
With the Blazers (16-23) sliding so far in the standings, it’s hard to envision them making that kind of move at the moment. What’s more, there is serious skepticism from key people close to the Blazers that Love will ever find his way to his home region team in the Northwest.
Love apologized Tuesday for some of his recent behavior on the court, then went out and scored 30 points in a loss to the Detroit Pistons. He finished 12-of-15 shooting from the field -- but attempted just two shots in the fourth quarter as the Cavaliers blew a 12-point lead. He is averaging 16.4 points and 10.3 rebounds on the season. "The Cavs have communicated to him, 'Help us help you,'" Windhorst said. "Do you want to get traded? Then come in and have a good attitude every day and put up numbers. And there have been periods this season where Cavs has done that. But there have been several times this season where he's lost his cool a little bit, and we're all watching for it."
The Cavs want to trade Love, who is obviously unhappy in Cleveland, but he’s in the first year of a four-year, $120 million contract. The others who are on expiring deals are Tristan Thompson (arguably their most attractive trade asset), Matthew Dellavedova and Ante Zizic. Dellavedova has playoff and championship experience as a backup point guard, but he’s averaging 2.7 points and shooting 31 percent, including 12.5 percent from 3-point range.
Angel Gray: #Cavs Kevin Love addressed A LOT in media this morning. “I let my emotions get the best of me and I can’t do that. Starting on New Year’s Eve I wasn’t acting like a 31 yr old but a 13yr old.” “It’s been tough especially w/ record but I love my teammates and have to be better”.
The latest comes from ESPN insider Brian Windhorst, a native of Akron, Ohio, and former Cavs beat reporter. Windhorst addressed the Love situation on his podcast, The Hoop Collective. "He absolutely, totally wants to get out of there," Windhorst said. "It has driven him various levels of crazy to be there this season."
"I think there's teams that would do it," said Windhorst. "One of the things that's been remarkable to me as I've talked to some people around the league about Kevin in the last 48-72 hours is there's a lot of people who really, really value him and really like him, but the problem is because of the contract, it's a difficult to come up with a trade for. Because the Cavs are viewing trading an All-Star level player. The other teams are saying 'Yeah, he's a good player but we're taking on this money.' They think they're bailing the Cavs out."
Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love had a verbal altercation with general manager Koby Altman following Saturday’s shootaround, league sources confirm to cleveland.com. Love, the team’s franchise player, was unhappy with Altman’s decision to fine him $1,000 for an outburst during a 20-point loss against the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 31, 2019.
This is now the second time this season Love and Altman have had a talk about attitude, engagement and body language, sources tell cleveland.com. The first time, sources say, was in early December following a string of awful, disengaged single-digit performances by the five-time All-Star. After that first chat with Altman, ahead of Cleveland’s Dec. 11 home game against Houston, Love went on an impressive run, scoring double figures in eight of the next nine games. His attitude shifted as well.
Love, who has repeatedly been mentioned in trade rumors, would prefer to be moved before the deadline, sources say, but he has not yet demanded a trade. The Cavs aren’t in any hurry to move their best player and top asset, especially if they can’t get a deal they like, but they are willing to listen to offers. If Love asks out before the Feb. 6 trade deadline, that could change the organization’s thinking.
Love was fined $1,000 by the Cavs for an outburst on the bench on Dec. 31 in Toronto, sources said, and disagreed with the fine. He was spotted by cameras slapping chairs on the Cavaliers bench away from the team huddle in the third quarter of the blowout. He asked a Cavs coach to take him out of the game so he could cool down. During the next timeout, when a coach asked what was wrong, Love said he didn’t like how selfish the first unit was playing, sources said.

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The Cavaliers plan to start uprooting veterans on the roster to gather more draft picks and young assets. Clarkson, 27, is averaging 14.6 points per game, including a season-high 33 points on 12-of-27 shooting in Friday's victory over Memphis. The Cavaliers are projected to have more than $28 million in salary-cap space for free agency.
Sources say the Cavs didn’t feel confident about their chances of getting a first-round pick for Clarkson in this market, so they took a pair of future seconds -- a 2022 from San Antonio and a 2023 from Golden State, sources say. The move puts Cleveland about $5.1 million below the luxury tax threshold, which gives the team more financial flexibility when it comes to other deals. Make no mistake, more are coming between now and the trade deadline on Feb. 6. Players are already bracing for those shakeups.
Could I see it? I could see … I just don’t … What’s going to happen with us this summer? Or at the trade deadline? I just don’t know. It’s just tough because, and I’m not a religious guy by any means, but the old saying “You want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” Listen, obviously it’s a tough go right now. We’ve got (six) wins. But in some ways, the grass isn’t always greener. You just don’t know how the shit is going to shake out. Ever. In anything.
Kevin Love: So could I see it? Yes and no. It’s tough for me to answer. If we got a year or two down the line — I don’t know what their plans are for me even in the short term. But if it got there and we weren’t getting any better, it might make sense for them to completely go young. Maybe it’s that way now. See? That’s the end of your article. With a question mark at the end.
Kevin Love will be one of the biggest names available. He's been linked to the Portland Trail Blazers (10-16) for years—in part because he played at Lake Oswego High School in Oregon. "Sometimes the obvious happens," a former Western Conference executive said. "Something like [Hassan] Whiteside, Mario Hezonja, [Anfernee] Simons, Gary Trent and a first. You have to give something to get something."
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.
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."
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May 19, 2022 | 12:59 am EDT Update

Suns GM believes Deandre Ayton will be back

Jones told Burns & Gambo on Wednesday that he believes Deandre Ayton will be back with the Suns next season. “Deandre had an amazing season and he’s progressed every year and improved every year,” the GM said. “He’s been here and so he’s a big part of what we do. His future with us is something we will address at the proper time which is in the future. He’s a free agent and I’ve said all along, he’s about the same things we’re about which is winning. We’ll address it at the proper time.”
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On possible supermax deal for Devin Booker and rookie extension for Cam Johnson. If Booker makes All-NBA this year, he’ll be eligible for a four-year deal worth $211 million while Johnson is up for a rookie extension heading into his fourth NBA season: James Jones: “That’s a part of the business. As your team improves, typically your payroll increases. We’re focused on improving the team and those guys, they deserve the credit. They deserve the accolades and the financial rewards that come with being good players and productive players. It doesn’t preclude us from doing anything. We’re not talking about a luxury tax issues or avoiding those things. That’s not something that’s going to prevent us from continuing to build this team and keep this team together.”
“Had a great year, just one of those nights,” said O’Neal as Ayton finished in Sunday’s Game 7 against Dallas with a career playoff-low five points on 2-of-5 shooting. “Phoenix had a great year, just one of those nights. This is a classy organization. This is a classy team. Can’t say bad things about them. They played hard. Again, even great players have one of those nights.”   O’Neal, and fellow TNT NBA analysts Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley discussed Ayton’s future with the Suns after the top overall seed was eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks in Sunday’s Game 7 in Phoenix. “You’ve got to re-sign Ayton,” Barkley said.
Storyline: Deandre Ayton Free Agency
“(McGee) played well, he was a great addition to the team, but it all hinges on Deandre Ayton,” Barkley said. “It’s him and Booker. They are the guys going forward. Chris is going to be 38 (years old). He’s going to get the ball to the right person, but it’s time for Booker and Ayton. You can’t have a bad game like they did. Chris, he had a tough night, but Ayton and Booker, they’ve got to play well.”

Warriors crush Mavericks to take 1-0 lead in Western Finals

Once Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson slowed down, caught their breath and stopped rushing shots, the Splash Brothers got on a roll that proved too much for Dallas to stop. Especially because Andrew Wiggins worked end to end to make sure Luka Doncic couldn’t get going. Curry had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, Golden State held Doncic in check and the Warriors beat the Mavericks 112-87 on Wednesday night for a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. “Just make him work, that was the main thing,” Wiggins said.
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Doncic scored 20 points but shot just 6 for 18 and 3 of 10 from deep. He made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half to get his team within 54-45 at the break, but Curry and Thompson heated up and helped the Warriors pull away in the second half. “A great job. That’s it,” Doncic said. “They did a great job.” Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his 3s for the surprising Mavs, who stunned the top-seeded Suns in a 123-90 thumping in Game 7 on Sunday in Phoenix.
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“They did a really good job. Wiggins picking him up full court,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “They went box-and-one, they went zone. We understood coming into the series that we were going to see that. We’ll go back and look at the video and see what we can do better.” Stopping Doncic, who was averaging 31.5 points in the playoffs, is the tall task this time after the Warriors already handled two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver in the first round, then Ja Morant early last series before his knee injury. “I thought Wiggs was fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Doncic is as difficult a cover as there is in this league. … It’s important to make him work. He’s so good. Any great player in the league you’re trying to limit the damage that they do.”
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