Since the departure of LeBron James in the summer of 2018, rumors have been swirling around All-Star power forward Kevin Love and his future with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers have not shown any intention of moving the face of the franchise, but with the team still in the early phase of the rebuilding process, most people believe that Love will be available on the market in the 2020 offseason. One potential trade partner for the Cavaliers in a possible deal involving Love is the Utah Jazz.
In a recent article, Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report created a list of offseason trades for every lottery team. For the Cavaliers, Bailey suggested that they could trade Love to the Jazz in exchange for veteran point guard Mike Conley.
“This move is all about flexibility going forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kevin Love is clearly on a different timeline than the Cavs’ young core of Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr., and he’s set to make an average of $30.5 million per season through 2022-23. Mike Conley, on the other hand, is on a contract that expires after next season. And while he would be headed to a backcourt that’s crowded with young talent, the move could be good for him for a couple of reasons.”
Though it wouldn’t put him closer to winning his first championship, being traded to the Cavaliers would give Conley the opportunity to increase his value before he enters the free agency market again in the summer of 2021. While in Cleveland, he could also serve as a veteran mentor for their young core, specifically Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Before the 2021 February NBA trade deadline, the Cavaliers could acquire future draft assets by sending his expiring contract to legitimate title contenders in dire need of a backcourt boost.
Meanwhile, with Conley’s failure to live up to expectations and coexist with Donovan Mitchell, trading him for Love would make a lot of sense for the Jazz. Though it would have a huge effect on their salary cap flexibility, the potential deal would enable the Jazz to boost their frontcourt and become a more competitive team next year. Love would give them a very reliable scoring option, an incredible rebounder, and a floor-spacer.
This season, the 31-year-old power forward averaged 17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists while shooting 45.0 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN. With the years he spent with James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, Love wouldn’t have a hard time building chemistry with Mitchell and Rudy Gobert in Utah. Also, though he has defensive issues, the Jazz could easily hide his major weakness by pairing him with a two-time Defensive Player of the Year like Gobert in their frontcourt.