Since the departure of LeBron James in the summer of 2018, rumors have been continuously swirling around All-Star power forward Kevin Love and his future with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers may have said on numerous occasions that they still consider Love part of their long-term future, but with the team heading into an inevitable rebuild, most people see him as an odd fit on their roster. Once he becomes officially available on the trading block, several teams that are in dire need of a frontcourt boost and additional star power are expected to express a strong interest in adding him to their roster, including the Utah Jazz.
In a recent article, Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report created a list of perfect trade targets for every team in the 2020 offseason. For the Jazz, it’s Love. Bailey suggested they could use the expiring contract of Mike Conley to acquire Love from the Cavaliers this fall.
“Kevin Love quietly had a solid bounce-back season for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2019-20. He averaged 20.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.0 threes per 75 possessions while posting a 59.9 true shooting percentage and a positive net rating swing. He may not be the superstar he was before joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, but he showed he can still be a difference-maker, particularly on offense. And the Utah Jazz would be an interesting landing spot for the veteran forward.”
Instead of letting Conley walk away in the summer of 2021 without getting anything in return, the potential deal would allow the Jazz to turn his expiring contract into an All-Star caliber talent. Love may not be on the same level as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, or Anthony Davis, but he’s capable of changing the Jazz’s fate in the 2020-21 NBA season. He would give them a big man who could interchangeably play at the power forward and center positions.
What makes him a more intriguing addition to the Jazz is his ability to space the floor and excel in an off-ball capacity, making him the ideal running mate for a ball-dominant superstar like Donovan Mitchell. Love may remain a liability on the defensive end of the floor, but Bailey believes Utah could easily hide his weakness by pairing him with two-time DPOY Rudy Gobert in their frontcourt.
The potential acquisition of Love may not be enough to turn them into the No. 1 favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy next year, but if he meshes well with Mitchell, Gobert, Joe Ingles, and Bojan Bogdanovic, they could have a better chance of beating Western Conference powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets in a best-of-seven series.