NBA Rumors: Kevin Love-For-Nicolas Batum Trade Could Make Hornets ‘Fringe Playoff Team,’ Per ‘Bleacher Report’

Does trading Kevin Love for Nicolas Batum make sense for the Cavaliers and the Hornets?

Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on October 19, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

Does trading Kevin Love for Nicolas Batum make sense for the Cavaliers and the Hornets?

Since the 2019 NBA offseason started, the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to inform everyone in the league that they have no intention of trading All-Star power forward Kevin Love. Despite suffering a huge disappointment in the 2018-19 NBA season, the Cavaliers still see Love as the player who will lead them back to the top of the Eastern Conference and help them win their second NBA championship title. However, with the emergence of numerous powerhouse teams in the league, most people believe that the Cavaliers are better off trading Love and focusing on the development of their young players.

In his recent article, Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report mentioned two possible trade scenarios in which the Cavaliers will be able to unload Kevin Love and the four years and $120.2 million left on his contract. In the proposed trade deal that would send Love to the Charlotte Hornets, Ellis suggested that the Cavaliers could straight swap the All-Star power forward for Nicolas Batum.

The potential acquisition of Kevin Love won’t make the Hornets an instant contender, but Ellis believes that it would be enough to turn Charlotte into a “fringe playoff team” in the Eastern Conference.

“With Love on board, the Hornets could be a fringe playoff team. He has to be in tip-top shape and find a way to combine his Alpha Wolf Minnesota production (or something resembling that of a No. 1 option) with his winning experience in Cleveland—but the East is still figuring itself out in a post-LeBron and now post-Kawhi world. With Love leading the way, as well as what could be immediate impact from Terry Rozier, a roster filled out with Rozier, Monk, Bridges, Love and Cody Zeller could be enough to challenge for that fringe status.”

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The deal would be very beneficial for the Hornets, especially if they are still aiming to remain competitive in the Eastern Conference next season. The potential arrival of Kevin Love would help the Hornets replenish the star power they lost when Kemba Walker left in the 2019 NBA free agency, while the departure of Nicolas Batum would enable them to clear a position for young wingmen like Malik Monk and Miles Bridges.

However, it remains a big question mark if Nicolas Batum, alone, would be enough to convince the Cavaliers to send Kevin Love to Charlotte. Batum may have a shorter contract, but in the potential deal involving Love, the Cavaliers will likely demand a trade package including a young player or a future draft pick.