With just hours left before the 3 p.m. EST NBA trade deadline, rumors of moves around the league continue to abound. Once all of the trade rumor drama passes, the Cleveland Cavaliers will host the Chicago Bulls. The Cavs have dropped both games against the Bulls this season and must win tonight if they want to tie up the series before the post-season. While there’s no reason to think that Kyrie Irving or LeBron James are even considered in any of the serious trade talks, there is a possibility that Derrick Rose and the Bulls will only face two-thirds of Cleveland’s “Big Three” tonight. Kevin Love remains one of the most talked-about potential trade pieces in the NBA right now, and fans are watching to see if Cleveland will make any personnel adjustments to give them an edge against teams like the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs.
— Steve Aschburner (@AschNBA) February 18, 2016
According to Sporting News, the Boston Celtics have been interested in Kevin Love since 2012. As the trade clock winds down, it looks like Kevin Love will go to Boston — if he does, indeed, leave Cleveland. The problem remains, however, that if Cleveland is going to give up Love, they are expecting a star player in return. As indicated by the trade LeBron wanted to get Kevin Love — losing No. 1 overall draft picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett — the Cavs are more interested in winning now than building for the future. With nothing to give but young players and draft picks, the Celtics don’t appear to have anything of interest to the Cavs. Unless Boston can rope in a third team to deal a major player to Cleveland (like the New Orleans Pelicans and Ryan Anderson), they can move on from the idea of adding Love to their line-up.
Kevin Love uses the word 'fire' in describing the pain he felt when he injured his shoulder last night https://t.co/cTryZUZNuc
— SportsTime Ohio (@SportsTimeOhio) February 11, 2016
Iman Shumpert was also the subject of more than a few trade rumors, but as ESPN reports, it looks like he will remain in Cleveland. The Cavs apparently made an official offer to the Orlando Magic for a trade involving Anderson Varejao and Channing Frye, but they are in competition with the Los Angeles Clippers to obtain Frye’s services. In all likelihood, Varejao will remain with the only NBA team that he’s ever played for.
From the Chicago Bulls camp, the major trade-related news evolves around Pau Gasol and the Sacramento Kings. The latest reports are that the Bulls want a trade involving Pau Gasol and Tony Snell for Kosta Koufos and Ben McLemore. Nothing has been finalized, and Gasol has made it clear that he’s much more interested in his future in Chicago than being traded elsewhere.
— Spencer Davies (@SpinDavies) February 18, 2016
Currently, the Cleveland Cavaliers are sitting atop the NBA’s Central Division and the Eastern Conference. The only team in the conference within five games of the Cavs are the Toronto Raptors, currently three games out of first place in the East. It’s been less than a month since the Bulls came to Cleveland and handed them a 13-point defeat. However, since that time, Cleveland has been 8-2.
Their division rivals from the Windy City currently sit third in the division and seventh in the conference, now 11 games behind King James and the Cavs. The Bulls will be trying to snap a four-game losing streak that appears to get worse with each game. After losing by five points to the Nuggets in Denver, they lost by seven the following night in Minnesota against the Timberwolves. After a day off, they lost in Charlotte to the Hornets by 17 points. Then, in the last game before the NBA All-Star Weekend, they lost by 23 points to the Atlanta Hawks.
— The Kicker (@kickerofficial) February 10, 2016
Before tonight’s game, there could be some major trades for both the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. While Anderson Varejao seems to be the most likely Cavalier to be swapped, there’s still potential for the David Griffin to cut a deal for Kevin Love or Iman Shumpert. However, if Cleveland remains intact while Gasol is dealt to Sacramento, LeBron may lead his team to deliver a fifth consecutive loss for the Bulls. However, if Derrick Rose can lead Chicago out of their slump, they’ll have bested the Cavaliers thrice this season.
Where to watch
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls airs tonight on TNT at 8/7c as part of the NBA on TNT programming. For those with no television access, the Bulls and Cavs can be listened to tonight on ESPN radio.
[Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]