The explosive backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum reached another milestone in the 2018-19 NBA season when they carried the Portland Trail Blazers to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2000. However, after being swept by the Golden State Warriors, it’s crystal clear that the Trail Blazers still need to make huge upgrades on their roster in order to have a realistic chance of fully dominating the Western Conference and ending their decades of title drought.
If they are serious about achieving their main goal in the 2019-20 NBA season, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report believes that the Trail Blazers should strongly consider targeting a “high-level complementary contributor” before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. Buckley suggested that the Trail Blazers could go after Kevin Love of the Cavaliers.
“Despite getting modest at best contributions from Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless at the forward spots, the Blazers still had last season’s third-most-efficient attack. When Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are combining for 46.8 points, 9.9 assists and 5.4 threes on a nightly basis, it almost doesn’t matter what happens around them. But this core could climb to a higher tier if it had a high-level complementary contributor at one of those frontcourt spots. Plug in Kevin Love, who grew up in Oregon, and suddenly Portland would have the spacing and playmaking pick-and-choose partner for the guards who would blow the top off this offense.”
Kevin Love perfectly fits the description of a “high-level complementary contributor.” Love may not be on the level of LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Paul George, but he’s one of the few NBA superstars in the league who can efficiently play in an off-ball capacity. With the three years he spent serving as the third scoring option behind James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, Love won’t have a hard time building chemistry with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in Portland.
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Trail Blazers would be sending a trade package including Hassan Whiteside, Zach Collins, and a 2020 second-round pick to the Cavaliers in exchange for Kevin Love. The deal works on ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine. However, though it would boost the Trail Blazers’ chances of contending for the NBA championship title next season, the suggested trade would only make sense for the Cavaliers if they already decide to undergo a full-scale rebuild.
Aside from unloading Kevin Love and his lucrative contract, the Cavaliers would be acquiring a young and promising center in Zach Collins and a future draft pick that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. However, if the Trail Blazers are serious about acquiring Love, they should consider adding more valuable assets in the trade package. According to a report from The Inquisitr, the Cavaliers would only move Love if they will be “blown away” by the offer of interested teams.