The explosive backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum helped the Portland Trail Blazers finish third in the Western Conference last season. However, when the real battle started in the Western Conference Playoffs, they suffered a first-round exit in the hands of the DeMarcus Cousins-less New Orleans Pelicans. After the season ended for the Trail Blazers, Lillard said he wants to see a major upgrade on their roster, giving Portland more pressure to acquire another superstar this summer.
Several NBA superstars, including Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, emerged as potential targets for the Trail Blazers on the trade market. However, players like Leonard and Butler come with a huge price, and aside from Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, the Trail Blazers don’t have enough trade assets that can convince the San Antonio Spurs or the Minnesota Timberwolves to make a deal.
Luckily, according to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, one NBA superstar who is expected to be available on the trade market this offseason could be a realistic trade target for the Trail Blazers – Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers. After LeBron James left his hometown team, the Cavaliers are expected to undergo a full-scale rebuild. There are speculations that the Cavaliers are planning to use their remaining superstar to acquire young players and future draft picks where Portland could be an ideal trade partner.
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Trail Blazers will be sending Meyers Leonard, Maurice Harkless, Caleb Swanigan, and an unprotected 2019 first-round pick to the Cavaliers for Kevin Love. The trade works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. As Swartz noted, the deal will not only be beneficial for the Trail Blazers but also for the Cavaliers.
“For Cleveland, this trade is mostly about getting Portland’s unprotected first-round pick, although Swanigan is only 21 and could develop into a rotation-caliber big. Leonard and Harkless could potentially squeeze into the Cavaliers’ rebuilding plans at ages 26 and 25, respectively, but they’re mainly salary fillers that come off the books in 2020. If the Cavs gave either of them an opportunity to produce and flipped them to a contender for a low pick sometime before then, it’d be a win.”
Trading Kevin Love will only be the start for the Cavaliers as there are rumors that they are also looking to move veterans Kyle Korver and George Hill. Now that LeBron James is gone, Love no longer has the reason to stay in Cleveland, especially if they undergo a rebuilding process. The All-Star forward will definitely love spending the prime of his career with a legitimate playoff contender.
As the Western Conference continues to get stronger, the Trail Blazers obviously need to add more star power in order to reach a higher level next season. So far, it remains unknown if they have a real interest in acquiring Kevin Love, but they should do something big this summer to avoid suffering another disappointing season.