The Warriors have been flirting with the idea of adding Kevin Love to their roster for years, and that courting might turn into a full-court press this month. There is growing sentiment around the league that Love will negotiate a buyout with Cleveland and sign a veteran-minimum contract with a contender, with one of the options being the Warriors.
“Obviously, with Draymond, it’s a love-hate relationship, but we’ve become actually pretty close friends over the past few years,” Love said. “I love how he competes, his mind for the game, his intangibles, how he leads the break. He passes, he plays defense, and it seems like he’s always in the right spot. “He’s first-team All-Defense and has been the Defensive Player of the Year for a reason, so I think we can elevate each other’s game.”
The 32-year-old Cavaliers star might be coming off his worst statistical season, but he’s going to be a big name on the trading block this summer or even on the buyout market. If Love is bought out, he figures to be a prime target of the Nets, who scooped up Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge the same way this past season.
For a five-time All-Star who sounds as if he realizes his time as a franchise star is done and his time in Cleveland could soon be over as well, Love would be a fit in Brooklyn. “Yeah, I understand going into my 14th season that being that No. 1 guy, playing 35 minutes, getting 20 touches a game is probably in my rearview,” Love said Tuesday. “But how I can affect the team, and feeling how I’m feeling now, I know that I can do it at a very high level. I don’t try to put a ceiling or limit on myself at all. So long as I’m feeling good, I know I’m going to play good.
The Cavs would trade Love if they could, but the two years and $60 million he has left on his contract is just too much for another team to take on, based on what they’ve seen from him over the past three seasons. “Being around these guys, I think it helps elevate my mindset and my game in a big way,” Love said. “That doesn’t really faze me. I’m 13 years in now and I’ve heard it all. All I can do is go out there, chase the game, let everything fall into place, bust my ass and see what I can do for this team.”
Moving on from Love isn’t easy. His trade value has cratered, currently seen leaguewide as a negative asset because of his age, injury history, massive contract (owed $60 million over next two years) and public outbursts. Opposing teams want the Cavs to give up at least a draft pick or a young player in a Love swap. The Cavs aren’t in position to do that.