With a little over two months to go until the start of the 2016-2017 NBA season, rumors are swirling regarding some of the top players in the league. While the majority of the major moves that will take place this offseason have already been completed, there is still time for teams to make trades and sign players.
After winning the championship last season, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to make it two in a row. While they have the best odds to represent the Eastern Conference in next year’s NBA Finals, they still need to add more skilled big men, and that is especially true at the center position. In adding Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors have significantly improved their already elite team, and the Cavaliers are going to have to play perfect basketball in order to beat them in a potential playoff series.
Kevin Love, who is more of a power forward than a center, has not exactly fit in with the Cavaliers over the past two seasons. While he made a few key plays on the defensive end against the Warriors in Game 7 of last season’s NBA Finals, he was more of a role player than a third star. Love may not fit in with the current Cavaliers’ roster, but he still has value around the league.
As Fansided reports, a new rumor is linking Love to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Nerlens Noel.
“Rumors surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers centers are nothing new. They have come non-stop since the arrival of team president Bryan Colangelo. Almost instantly, Colangelo has pitched the message of the Philadelphia 76ers needed to address three talented centers. Colangelo is persistant that he is looking to trade one of their centers before the start of the 2016-2017 season. So far, trade rumors abound but no offers amount to more than a bag of pretzels and a six-pack. Perhaps the offers are improving. In two stories, the current rumors are linking the Cleveland Cavaliers as a team in hot pursuit of a rim-protecting center, a speciality of the Philadelphia 76ers. The offer? Kevin Love.”
With former 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie no longer with the organization, it appears as though the team is finally looking to end their “tank” and attempt to become competitive. While the 76ers have collected numerous young and talented assets, they have too many big men on their roster.
Noel has been a solid contributor for the 76ers for the past two seasons, but he may be the odd man out. While nothing has ever been officially confirmed by the organization, the 76ers reportedly tried to trade Noel to the Celtics before June’s draft. The 22-year-old still has a ton of potential, but the organization may prefer Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid.
Embiid, who may have the most potential out of the team’s young big men, has never played a game in the NBA. After being drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Embiid has had numerous injury setbacks, and questions emerged on whether he would ever appear in a game for the 76ers.
While Embiid still has a lot to prove, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that he is on track to play in the preseason. Even if Embiid is healthy this season, his minutes will likely be limited. Regardless, Noel becomes a restricted free agent after the season. If the 76ers do not plan on offering him a fairly large contract, they may be better off trading him now in order to get some value in return.
As a member of the Cavaliers, Noel could focus on playing tough defense and protecting the rim. While Noel’s offensive game still leaves a lot to be desired, he could excel on putbacks and lobs.
Love would be another big man on the 76ers’ roster, but he has more range than the current big men. His three-point shooting ability would allow him to stretch the floor and create space for Embiid and Okafor.
[Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]