The Philadelphia 76ers are currently active on the trade market searching for a superstar who could boost their chance of winning an NBA championship next season. Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs emerged as the 76ers’ top trade target, but the 27-year-old small forward has already said that he prefers to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 76ers have a plethora of trade assets that can convince the Spurs to engage in a blockbuster trade. But giving up valuable assets would be a huge risk if Kawhi Leonard won’t commit to staying in Philadelphia beyond the 2018-19 NBA season. If they fail to acquire Leonard, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report suggested that the 76ers could trade for Cleveland Cavaliers superstar Kevin Love.
“If the 76ers can’t trade for Kawhi Leonard, Love would be a nice consolation prize. You couldn’t find a better player to put next to Joel Embiid in the frontcourt. Love would keep driving lanes open for Ben Simmons and ensure no one would grab a rebound against the 76ers for the rest of time. Love would be happy knowing he’d never have to play center again, and he’d be joining a team that could make the NBA Finals given the depleted state of the Eastern Conference.”
In the suggested trade scenario by Bleacher Report, the 76ers would be engaging in a three-team trade with the Cavaliers and the Memphis Grizzlies. The 76ers will acquire Kevin Love, the Grizzlies receive Robert Covington, and the Cavaliers will get Dario Saric, Ben McLemore, JaMychal Green, and Jerryd Bayless. The proposed trade deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
With LeBron James gone, there is no reason for the Cavaliers to keep Kevin Love. Their roster, as currently constructed, may have the capability to earn a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference, but they will need a miracle to beat a team like the Boston Celtics in a best-of-seven series. The best thing the Cavaliers could do right now is to rebuild the team, and trading Love for a package including young and promising talents like Dario Saric would be a good start.
The deal will allow the Grizzlies to upgrade their wing with the addition of Robert Covington. Covington is not only a reliable defender, but he is also a major threat from beyond the arc. In 80 games he played last season, Covington averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.7 steals on 41.3 percent shooting from the field and 36.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, the addition of Kevin Love will strengthen the 76ers’ chance of taking the empty throne in the Eastern Conference. Love will surely love the idea of representing the East once again in the NBA Finals, even if it is on a different team without LeBron James on his side.