Storyline: Kevin Love Trade?

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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.

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.”

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.”

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 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.”
3 months ago via ESPN

“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.”

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?”

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.

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.””

Kevin Love shrugs off trade rumors

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.

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.

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).

LeBron James pushing for a Melo trade?

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.
1 year ago via ESPN

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.”
1 year ago via ESPN

“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.’ …
1 year ago via ESPN

Knicks still interested in Kevin Love

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.
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July 22, 2018 | 12:15 pm EDT Update
What does the late Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss have to do with LeBron James joining his team in 2018? The query sounds like a trick question, but a new story has come to light that makes it seem as though Dr. Buss was the one to kickstart the Lakers’ eventual pursuit and signing of their now-superstar all the way back in 2010. The Lakers didn’t have nearly enough cap space then to actually be a serious threat to sign James. But according to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, Buss was thinking beyond that: Buss thought about calling James anyway. Over lunch with his kids, he mentioned the idea, offhandedly. “It’d be good to know that guy,” his son Joey recalled him saying.
One colleague during that period was Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who was an assistant with the Cavaliers from 2005-10. Impressed with Fernandez’s development in the organization, Malone hired Fernandez as an assistant coach in 2016. “He gets his foot in the door,” Malone said of Fernandez, “and he’s going to find a way to continue to fill gaps and do things that are necessary for the team and the staff to move forward.”
Now, the 35-year-old Fernandez is regarded as an up-and-comer in his field, perhaps a future NBA head coach. There are two primary reasons why. One, he has a thirst for knowledge. And two, as one former boss said, he’s the ultimate “people coach.” “He’s been around Hall of Famers, but he’s also been around the last guys in the G League,” said Mike Gansey, the Cavaliers’ assistant general manager. “Whoever walks through that door, he can relate to them … he’s either watched it, lived it or seen it. That’s why he’s so valuable. “He gives more than basketball. That’s why I think our guys got so much better and people liked him so much … He could read people and knew when he had to get on them and when not (to) and how to treat them to get the most out of them.”
July 22, 2018 | 5:42 am EDT Update
The Thunder, Hawks and Sixers agreed on a deal that involves sending Anthony to the Hawks, and the Hawks plan to buy out Anthony, per USA TODAY Sports. It’s reported that the Rockets are the favorites to sign Anthony once that happens. Morey was asked, “So are we for sure getting Carmelo Anthony?” He responded, “In the mix.” Morey also said, “Yes,” as a reply to, “Does Daryl still have something up his sleeve?”
Storyline: Carmelo Anthony Free Agency
“It would be a great acquisition for us,” said Harden, who did run into Anthony at Paris Fashion Week last month when Harden was making the rounds with teammate P.J. Tucker. “Melo’s a proven vet. He just wants to win at this point, so it would be great for him to be on our team. The current roster we have now, we’ve got good guys back and we keep making forward progress.”