Since the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, rumors have been circulating that the Portland Trail Blazers are finding a third superstar who could help Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum carry the team to the top of the deep Western Conference and win the NBA championship title. The Trail Blazers may have added Carmelo Anthony from the free agency market, but the 10-time NBA All-Star doesn’t seem to be the man that would enable Portland to create their own “Big Three.” As of now, one of the NBA superstars who is being frequently linked to the Trail Blazers is Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to Zach Buckley of the Bleacher Report, the potential acquisition of Love before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline would give the Trail Blazers an “ideal third wheel” behind the explosive backcourt duo of Lillard and McCollum.
“His post scoring would give Portland’s offense a safety valve when the guards can’t create. His outlet passes could get the Blazers easy buckets before opposing defenses get set. While he wouldn’t do much for the defense, at least his rebounding would improve the team’s ability to close out possessions (they’re 30th in defensive rebound percentage). Armed with picks, prospects and expiring salaries, Portland is one of the few teams positioned to add an impact player without completely disrupting its rotation. After following the Lillard-McCollum model for this long, why not see what this nucleus could do with a legitimate third scorer?”
Love would undeniably be an incredible addition to the Trail Blazers, giving them an All-Star caliber big man who can shoot the ball from the three-point range. After a disappointing 2018-19 NBA season, the 31-year-old power forward is now back from posting incredible numbers, averaging 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists while shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Love may not be on the same level as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Paul George, but it’s easy to understand why Buckley considers him as the “ideal third wheel” for the Trail Blazers. With his ability to excel in an off-ball capacity and experience playing alongside the likes of James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, Love would allow the Trail Blazers to add a third superstar without forcing Lillard and McCollum to make significant adjustments with their games.
To acquire Love, Buckley suggested that the Trail Blazers could offer a trade package that includes Hassan Whiteside, Nassir Little, and a 2020 first-round pick to the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers are yet to make Love available on the trade market, but the potential deal may be too good to pass for a rebuilding team. Aside from giving them salary cap relief, the proposed trade would allow them to add a young and promising talent in Little and a future draft pick that could help them speed up the rebuilding process.