Despite losing LeBron James in the recent free agency period, the Cleveland Cavaliers still entered the 2018-19 NBA season with the goal of defending their title as Eastern Conference champions and returning to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight year. It didn’t take half of the season for the Cavaliers to realize that they are no longer capable of contending for the NBA championship title.
After firing Tyronn Lue as their head coach, the Cavaliers revealed their plan to move some of their veterans to focus on the development of their young players. The Cavaliers started by trading Kyle Korver to the Utah Jazz for Alec Burks and two future second-round picks, and recently, they sent George Hill and Sam Dekker to the Milwaukee Bucks for Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson, and 2021 draft picks.
After their second deal of the season, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports believes that the Cavaliers are now ready to be in a full rebuild mode, and it will not a surprise if they continue shopping their veterans, including Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, before the February NBA trade deadline.
“Expect [Cavaliers general manager Koby] Altman to continue to look for a trade for J.R. Smith, no matter how small the asset return is. The franchise could also flip any of the players they acquired this year (Burks, Dellavedova, Henson) because they completed the deals early enough that they can aggregate their salaries with another player for a deal before the trade deadline on February 7. And of course, this all calls into question the future of Kevin Love in Cleveland, and to a lesser degree that of Tristan Thompson. Both big men still have value despite their bloated contracts.”
Kevin Love is eyeing a return to the Cavaliers in mid-January https://t.co/VsL4nA8smZ
— Armchair Cavaliers (@ArmchairCavs) December 6, 2018
Though he is currently recovering from an injury, Kevin Love is still considered as the Cavaliers’ most valuable trade asset. Giving him a massive contract extension didn’t only allow the Cavaliers to take full control of him for the next couple of years, but it also made him a more attractive trade asset. Love should be a great addition to a team who needs more star power and a big man who has the ability to space the floor.
After playing alongside LeBron James in the last four years, Kevin Love has established himself as one of the best sidekicks to NBA superstars in the league. Meanwhile, Tristan Thompson is currently making up for a down 2017-18, averaging 11.8 points and 11.8 rebounds on 53.5 percent shooting from the field. If he becomes consistent with his performance, it will not be a surprise if he gains plenty of interest before the February NBA trade deadline.