When LeBron James left in the recent free agency, the Cleveland Cavaliers made Kevin Love as the face of the franchise by giving him a massive contract extension. Despite the rumors that are circulating around their injured superstar, the Cavaliers made it clear to the entire league that they have no intention of moving him before the February NBA trade deadline. The Cavaliers still view Love as the centerpiece of the title-contending team they are trying to build in the post-LeBron era.
However, opposing teams look confident that Kevin Love will become available on the trade market soon. More than two weeks before Love becomes trade-eligible, two NBA teams have expressed “fairly strong interest” in adding him to their roster, according to Sam Amico of Amico Hoops. These include the Dallas Mavericks and the Charlotte Hornets.
“Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman isn’t yet entertaining offers for All-Star power forward Kevin Love, but Altman can expect the phone to start ringing soon. According to several Amico Hoops sources, both the Charlotte Hornets and Dallas Mavericks have a fairly strong interest in Love, who’s appeared in just four games this season. But for opposing teams looking to upgrade the roster, it’s not about how many games Love hasn’t played. They’re thinking about the future. Love, 30, underwent left foot surgery in early November and has been on the shelf ever since.”
Kevin Love's trade market is reportedly "very small."
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 9, 2019
It’s easy to understand why the Hornets are interested in trading for Kevin Love. Despite the explosive performance of Kemba Walker, the Hornets obviously need more star power to make huge noise in the Eastern Conference this season. The Hornets are currently in a win-now mode and need to give Walker a reason to stay when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Meanwhile, it seems like the Mavericks are already running out of patience and seriously considering earning a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference. Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic have shown promising performances earlier this season, but those are obviously not enough to make them a legitimate playoff contender. As of now, the Mavericks are on a three-game losing streak, sitting in the No. 14 spot in the Western Conference with an 18-22 record.
Kevin Love may not be on the level of LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but he could help the Mavericks become a more competitive team. With his ability to shoot the ball from beyond the arc, Mavericks Head Coach Rick Carlisle could use him at the center position if they want to play small ball.
As of now, it remains unknown what type of trade assets the Hornets and the Mavericks are willing to offer to the Cavaliers for Kevin Love. Expect more rumors to circulate as the February NBA trade deadline approaches.