When LeBron James left in the recent free agency, the Cleveland Cavaliers made it clear that they have no plan to undergo a full-scale rebuild. Their decision to give Kevin Love a massive contract extension showed that the Cavaliers are still aiming to defend their title as Eastern Conference champions in the 2018-19 NBA season. With James and Kyrie Irving gone, Love is currently considered as the new face of the Cavaliers’ franchise.
However, things are expected to change if the Cavaliers struggle next season. According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the Cavaliers may consider trading Kevin Love if they find themselves out of the playoff picture before the February NBA trade deadline.
“The Cavs signed Love to that fat four-year, $120 million extension because he is a very good basketball player. They also did it to increase his trade value. If the Cavs are too far behind the No. 8 spot around the trade deadline, it would be natural to pivot into tank mode and investigate Love’s market. (Remember: Cleveland owes Atlanta a top-10 protected pick.) If no deal emerges, they could revisit things in the offseason. They should not expect great return. Love just turned 30. That salary is huge, even if it drops by $2.5 million in 2022-23 (provided Earth has not melted by then).”
Celebrating World Mental Health Day by donating a year long @Headspace subscription to all @UCLA student athletes and coaches. It’s so important to train your mind as much as your body and I wanted the athletic community to have the tools.https://t.co/WNh9YsPpwy— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) October 10, 2018
If the Cavaliers finally realize that they are no longer a contender, they should move Kevin Love and rebuild the team. As Lowe noted, there will be desperate NBA teams who will be willing to give up valuable trade assets for an All-Star-caliber player like Love. One of the NBA teams who could express interest in adding Love to their roster is the Charlotte Hornets.
According to Lowe, the Hornets are “hell-bent” in returning to the Eastern Conference Playoffs in the 2018-19 NBA season. However, in order to make a deep playoff run and have a higher chance of beating Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and Toronto Raptors in a best-of-seven series, the Hornets obviously need to move star power to their roster.
In a proposed trade deal by Lowe, the Hornets will be trading Bismack Biyombo, Jeremy Lamb, and an unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers for Kevin Love. The potential acquisition of Love will give the Hornets a reliable scoring option next to Kemba Walker. Love will undeniably improve the Hornets in terms of rebounding and floor-spacing. In 59 he played with the Cavaliers last season, the 30-year-old center/power forward averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds on 45.8 percent shooting from the field and 41.5 percent from beyond the arc.
As of now, it remains questionable if the Hornets’ suggested trade package can convince the Cavaliers to part ways with Kevin Love. In exchange for their lone superstar, the Cavaliers will surely demand trade assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process.