The explosive backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum may have reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time in the 2018-19 NBA season, but most people still don’t see the Portland Trail Blazers as a legitimate title contender in the NBA. The crazy 2019 NBA offseason featured the birth of several powerhouse teams in the Western Conference, giving the Trail Blazers more tough opponents to face on their road to the NBA Finals.
If they are serious about fully dominating the Western Conference and contending for the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season, the Trail Blazers should highly prioritize adding a third superstar to their roster. In his recent article, Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report created a list of NBA players who are in desperate need of a trade. Of all the big names mentioned by Bailey, Kevin Love proved to be the most interesting trade target for the Trail Blazers.
Kevin Love may not be on the level of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard, but he would still be an incredible addition to the Trail Blazers, giving them an All-Star caliber big man who can knock down shots from beyond the arc. Last season, the 30-year-old center/power forward averaged 17.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while shooting 38.5 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from the three-point range.
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What makes Kevin Love a more intriguing acquisition for the Trail Blazers is his ability to efficiently play alongside other NBA superstars. After spending three years with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James in Cleveland, Love won’t definitely have a hard time serving as the Trail Blazers’ third scoring option behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. To acquire Love, Bailey suggested that the Trail Blazers could offer Hassan Whiteside’s expiring contract to the Cavaliers.
“Maybe a swap of Love and Hassan Whiteside could serve both teams. Portland can get a true 4 to play alongside Jusuf Nurkic and take some pressure off Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Cleveland would get an expiring contract that would open up loads of flexibility going forward.”
Trading Kevin Love for Hassan Whiteside is undeniably a no-brainer for the Trail Blazers. However, though it would enable them to get rid of Love’s lucrative contract, it remains a big question mark if Whiteside is enough to convince the Cavaliers to make a deal. If they ever decide to officially make Love available on the trading block, the Cavaliers are expected to demand trade assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process.