LeBron James’ controversial free agency decision will determine the future of Kevin Love in the Cleveland Cavaliers. If James leaves his hometown team once again, the Cavaliers are expected to make Love available on the trade market and start a full-scale rebuild. According to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, one of the NBA teams who could be interested in acquiring the All-Star power forward is the Utah Jazz.
Despite losing Gordon Hayward last summer, the Jazz managed to prove that they are still a legitimate playoff contender in the Western Conference, thanks to rookie Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. However, in order to reach a higher level next season, they obviously need additional star power to their team. This why targeting superstars who are expected to be on the trading block this summer make a lot of sense for the Jazz.
Kevin Love will boost the Jazz’s offense and give them another big man who can space the floor. Pairing with Gobert in Utah’s frontcourt will immediately address his defensive issues, and Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder can surely find a way to maximize their effectiveness when playing together on the court. Love won’t have a hard time making himself fit with the Jazz’s offensive strategy since he will be reuniting with his former teammate Ricky Rubio.
Love and Rubio played together in the Minnesota Timberwolves for three seasons, and those were the days when “Minnesota Love” still existed in the NBA. Playing under the shadow of LeBron James forced Love to make a huge sacrifice in his game. Starting a new journey with another team could help him return as one of the top-five players in the league. With Rubio playing as the starting point guard, Love is expected to be more involved in Jazz’s offense next season.
In order to acquire him from the Cavaliers, Favale suggested a trade package including Alec Burks, Jonas Jerebko, Ekpe Udoh, the No. 21 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, and a 2020 lottery-protected first-round pick.
“This same package would look so much better to the Cavaliers around draft day of the previous collective bargaining agreement. Striking the No. 21 pick’s salary from consideration wouldn’t kill the deal when using 2017-18 cap hits, and Cleveland would be able to save a boatload more money by waiving Jerebko and Udoh before July 9, when their 2018-19 salaries become fully guaranteed.”
The proposed trade deal will be beneficial for the Jazz and the Cavaliers. Utah will be acquiring a new superstar to pair with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert next season, while the Cavaliers will receive two first-round picks that could speed up the rebuilding process. So far, there is no official confirmation whether the Cavaliers and the Jazz plan to engage in a trade negotiation this summer. Expect more rumors to circulate around Kevin Love as the offseason goes deeper.