The Houston Rockets may have suffered a second-round exit in the 2020 Playoffs, but they aren’t expected to break up their explosive backcourt duo of Russell Westbrook and James Harden this fall. Instead of giving up on the pair, it’s more likely that the team will look for ways to surround Westbrook and Harden with a quality supporting cast. One of the potential targets for the Rockets in the 2020 offseason is Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In a recent episode of Locked On Rockets Podcast, host Jackson Gatlin suggested a way the Rockets could create their own “Big Three” of Love, Westbrook, and Harden in the 2020-21 NBA season. However, the proposed scenario wouldn’t only involve Houston and Cleveland — they would also need the help of the Minnesota Timberwolves to facilitate the trade.
“This seems to happen every summer with the Houston Rockets. Fans want to try and pair James Harden with Kevin Love, the former Minnesota big man, the guy who was the third point in the triangle between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving during that Cleveland championship,” Gatlin said, as quoted by ClutchPoints. “Here’s the trade proposal for the Rockets to receive Kevin Love. It’s a three team trade proposal: Rockets receive Kevin Love, the Timberwolves receive Eric Gordon and Danuel House Jr., and the Cavaliers receive James Johnson, a 2020 2nd-round pick from the Timberwolves, a 2022 2nd-round pick from the Timberwolves, and then Austin Rivers on a sign-and-trade deal.”
Love may not be on the same level as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, and Kevin Durant, but he would still be an incredible addition to the Rockets. He would give them an All-Star caliber big man who is a great rebounder and who can knock down shots from beyond the arc. 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 three-point range, per ESPN.
What makes Love a more interesting acquisition for the Rockets is his ability to excel in an off-ball capacity. With the years he spent with James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, he would likely fit in well alongside ball-dominant superstars like Harden and Westbrook in Houston.
Love shouldn’t have a problem returning to his role as the third fiddle. Instead of wasting his prime mentoring young players on a rebuilding team, joining forces with Westbrook and Harden would give Love a legitimate chance of contending for the NBA championship title next season.