While Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is preparing to take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET, rumors are heating up regarding the possibility that he will be traded over the summer.
Traded to Cleveland before the start of the 2014-2015 NBA season, Love has never really fit in with the Cavaliers. In joining LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, his numbers were expected to decline, but he is not the player that the Cavaliers’ front office had in mind when they gave up Andrew Wiggins for him. While the Boston Celtics have long been rumored to covet Love, their efforts so far have been futile.
According to a report from RealGM, it appears as though Celtics general manager Danny Ainge still views Love as a possible acquisition over the summer.
“The Boston Celtics, who have been linked to Kevin Love for at least two years, may not have abandoned their pursuit of him. Danny Ainge attend a workout with Excel Sports Management clients in New York City recently and met with prominent agent Jeff Schwartz, a league source told RealGM’s Andrew Perna. Schwartz represents Love, as well as Harrison Barnes, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. Brandon Ingram, the presumed No. 2 pick in next week’s draft is also a client of Excel, but Ainge is believed to have inquired with Schwartz about whether a trade for Love could be revisited. The Celtics hold the third, 16th and 23rd picks in the draft, as well as five second-round picks.”
While Love was once viewed as one of the top young players in the entire NBA, his value may be at its lowest. After averaging 26.1 points per game, 12.5 rebounds, and 4.4 assists in his final year with the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2013-2014 season, it appeared as though the Cavaliers were adding a legitimate offensive threat. Love’s 16 points per game, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists this year were solid, but this production has not carried over into the playoffs. In addition to Love’s offensive struggles, the Warriors have targeted his poor defense in the NBA Finals.
In the Cavaliers’ impressive victories in Game 5 and Game 6, Love’s impact was minimal. In Game 5, he played 33 minutes and only scored two points. In Game 6, he only played 12 minutes and scored seven points. In both games, his defense was an issue, and he got in early foul trouble. While Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue is probably going to give Love a chance to redeem himself in tomorrow’s Game 7, the leash is likely going to be short. The Cavaliers just seem to play better with Love on the bench.
While Love’s time with the Cavaliers has been less than stellar, he has proven that he can succeed in the NBA under the right circumstances. At only 27-years-old, Love could be a long-term fit for the right team. The only question is whether or not the Cavaliers are willing to give up on him. If they are willing to move him, how much will it cost?
It is important to remember that Love put up big numbers on a poor Timberwolves team. Since he was their primary scoring option and rebounder, he was able to consistently succeed. Now that he is playing on an elite team with other star players, his deficiencies are starting to show.
Regardless, it appears as though Ainge and the Celtics believe that Love can help their organization become a championship contender again. With the No. 3 overall pick and two other first-round draft picks, the Celtics have a lot of intriguing assets. After Love’s poor performance this postseason, the Celtics may be reluctant to part with the No. 3 overall pick, but it depends on how much Ainge wants him.
With the 2016 NBA offseason only a few weeks away, rumors will continue to link the Boston Celtics and their interest in trading for Cavaliers forward Kevin Love.
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