Since Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics, Kevin Love became the Cleveland Cavaliers’ second-best scoring option next to LeBron James. Unfortunately, the 29-year-old center/power forward failed to live up to expectations, increasing the load on James’ shoulder on the offensive ends of the floor. Though Love is still signed with the Cavaliers until the 2019-20 NBA season, his future in Cleveland could be affected by James’ impending free agency.
The decision of LeBron James in the upcoming offseason is expected to play a major role in what path the Cavaliers plan to take. If James leaves his hometown team, the Cavaliers are likely to undergo a full-scale rebuild, and there is a possibility that Kevin Love will be on the trading block. However, according to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, Cleveland will shop Love whether James stays in Cleveland or not.
“Kevin Love’s immediate future will be dictated by LeBron James’ latest free-agency decision. Either he leaves, in which case the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to start over without a soon-to-be 30-year-old entering a contract season. Or he stays, in which case the Cavaliers will…still probably shop Love in search of roster upgrades.”
Favale also added that the Cavaliers’ plan to trade Kevin Love will push through even if they succeed to dethrone the Warriors this season. Love hasn’t been his usual self since being traded to the Cavaliers in the summer of 2014. In addition to his inconsistencies on the offensive ends of the floor, the Cavaliers are also forced to make a game plan to address his defensive limitations.
Despite going through ups and downs in the 2017-18 NBA season, Kevin Love is still considered “Cleveland’s best piece of trade bait.” In 59 regular season games, he’s averaging 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds on 45.8 percent shooting from the field and 41.5 percent from beyond the arc. If LeBron James opts into the final year of his contract or signs an extension, the Cavaliers could include him in a trade package centered on the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft to acquire another superstar this summer. Recalling the last offseason, Cleveland tried to engage Love in a three-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and the Indiana Pacers to acquire Paul George.
However, if James joins another team in free agency, the Cavaliers could trade Kevin Love to acquire young players and draft picks that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. Love has undeniably played a major role in the Cavaliers’ recent success, but the 2017-18 NBA season could be his last season wearing the wine and gold.