Thanks in large part to the duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz emerged as one of the top teams in the Western Conference, posting a 41-23 record at the time the NBA suspended operations last month. But with point guard Mike Conley — who had played his entire career for the Memphis Grizzlies prior to this season — experiencing a significant statistical decline in the 2019-20 campaign, a new report recommended a trade that would send him to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for veteran big man Kevin Love.
As explained by Bleacher Report in a list of trade suggestions that could give top players their ideal “sidekicks,” Mitchell could benefit from playing alongside Love, who was described as a “perfect fit” for the Jazz. Given Gobert’s lack of outside shooting, the outlet noted that the five-time All-Star could provide some much-needed spacing for Utah’s offense. At the time the NBA suspended the 2019-20 season, Love was averaging 17.6 points per game and shooting 37.4 percent from beyond the arc.
In addition to Love’s outside shooting, his championship experience as part of the 2015-16 Cavaliers lineup was mentioned as another area where he could contribute if traded to the Jazz. The publication also brought up the 31-year-old’s ability to play both power forward and center — specifically starting at the latter position in small-ball lineups.
“Putting the ball in Mitchell’s hands while surrounding him with shooters in Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic and Love should be a recipe for success, especially with Gobert setting screens and rolling hard to the rim,” Bleacher Report stressed.
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As the Cavaliers are at last place in the Eastern Conference with a 19-46 record and deep into the rebuilding process that started when LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, Love is still very much a staple of trade rumors. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, it is believed that the Cavs might consider trading Love in the summer of 2020, though there would need to be some “value coming back” for the former All-NBA big man.
Regarding Conley’s potential contributions if he gets traded to the Cavaliers, Bleacher Report wrote that the veteran point guard could serve as “one of the best” mentors for the team’s young backcourt, which got even younger this season with first-round draft picks Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. The outlet also pointed out that Conley, much like center Andre Drummond, will be eligible to enter free agency in the summer of 2021, thus giving Cleveland the option to “flip” them prior to that year’s trade deadline and allow interested teams to save some money in the offseason.