Over the course of the 2019-20 season, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs were consistently featured in trade rumors, given their age and their respective teams’ subpar performance. As suggested in a list of trade ideas published on Monday, both clubs might be able to benefit from a deal that would see both big men swap teams in the 2020 offseason.
According to Bleacher Report, Love’s four-year, $120 million contract extension, which he signed in 2018, “almost immediately” became one of the biggest obstacles preventing the Cavs from making progress in their post-LeBron James rebuilding efforts. The outlet opined that it didn’t make much sense to build a team around someone who was, at the time of the extension, entering his early 30s and well into his NBA career.
“It’s obvious the Cavs need to get Love’s contract off the books; it’s a bad deal for them. Often overlooked: It’s really not that terrible for teams in non-rebuilding situations.”
Considering the current situation in Cleveland, Bleacher Report suggested moving Love to the Spurs in exchange for Aldridge and incoming second-year small forward Keldon Johnson.
Explaining why the hypothetical transaction could make sense for San Antonio, the publication pointed out that the team had a better record than the Cavs in the 2019-20 season and that its young players are “more promising and further along” than the ones that make up Cleveland’s core. Love was also described as a better long-range shooter and passer than Aldridge, thus making him a potentially better fit if the deal pushes forward.
As further explained, it’s possible that the Cavaliers could consider a straight-up swap involving the two big men, as Aldridge is set to enter free agency in the summer of 2021. The organization could have multiple options at that point, including buying him out right away after the transaction is completed or moving him to a contending team for additional draft assets prior to next year’s trade deadline.
“There’s more than one way for the Cavaliers to parlay Love’s contract into clean books and an extra pick or two,” Bleacher Report stressed.
As for Johnson, the outlet wrote that his inclusion was a “conservative” suggestion, as the Spurs likely won’t be willing to part ways with anyone from their youthful backcourt, including Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker IV. His improved play during the bubble stage, however, was mentioned as a reason why he could add more value if he gets traded to the Cavaliers.