In the days leading up to the February 6 trade deadline, the Portland Trail Blazers did some retooling to their roster, acquiring Trevor Ariza from the Sacramento Kings and making him their new starting small forward. However, a new report suggests that the team had tried to land an even bigger fish in the form of Cleveland Cavaliers forward/center Kevin Love, only for the trade attempt to fall through at some point before the deadline.
Quoting a report from Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Bleacher Report wrote that the Trail Blazers were willing to trade away two veteran players with expiring contracts — center Hassan Whiteside and wingman Kent Bazemore — in order to acquire Love in a deal that “definitely equated to a salary dump.” With Whiteside ($27.1 million) and Bazemore ($19.3 million) earning enough to match Love’s $28.9 million salary for the 2019-20 season, such a transaction had long been rumored, although it wasn’t specified when the Blazers made the rumored offer.
Instead of trading for Love, who is under contract through the 2022-23 season, the Blazers ended up making a deal with the Sacramento Kings, landing the 34-year-old Ariza and young power forwards Caleb Swanigan and Wenyen Gabriel in exchange for Bazemore, backup big man Anthony Tolliver, and two second-round draft picks.
Although it also wasn’t mentioned why the Cavaliers rejected Portland’s offer, Bleacher Report cited a previous story from The Athletic, which suggested in December that Cleveland would only agree to trade Love if a first-round pick was included in the trade package. The outlet also cited one of its own writers, Greg Swartz, who was informed earlier this month that the Cavs were reluctant to trade their star big man because they didn’t want to “take a loss” by offering one of their own first-rounders to sweeten any potential deals.
As of this writing, the Trail Blazers are in ninth place in the Western Conference with a 25-31 record, just 3.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 14-40 record.
Given how neither team was able to come to terms with each other before the trade deadline, it appears that Love will have no choice but to stick it out in Cleveland — at least until the end of the 2019-20 season. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, an unnamed former NBA general manager speculated this week that the 31-year-old forward/center might make another “push” for a trade this summer, as he may draw more attention from rival teams due to a weaker-than-usual free-agent market and a draft class that “doesn’t look like anything special.”