Exploring the Kevin Love Rumors and Possible Trade Scenarios

Dec. 15 marks the beginning of the NBA trade season. Once the 15th rolls around, all players who were signed or drafted in the 2019 offseason are eligible to be traded. 

One of the biggest names to already be included in trade rumors is the Cavaliers’ veteran forward, Kevin Love. The 31-year-old signed a four-year extension last offseason and is in his second year of the contract. Love is due roughly $90 million over the next three years. His contract will end when he is 34, and the final year is worth $28.9 million. 

Love is currently averaging 15.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc. Love has been one of the most productive guys for the team, and his trade value has been soaring as of late. 

Love’s value to the Cavaliers has been diminishing throughout the past few years. When he first joined the team in 2015, he was known as the third-best player behind Lebron James and Kyrie Irving. Since the team won a championship in 2016, Love’s team security has been like a rollercoaster. For the past few years, he has been in many trade rumors but the team has never been fully able to depart from the forward. 

Love, in a recent interview with ESPN, said, “Nothing’s changed. What I mean by that is … since I f—ing got here, there’s been talk of me being traded, so it’s nothing different. If they decide to go that way, I’ve just got to know it’s a part of the business, or if we decide to go that way, it’s part of the business.”

During this time, multiple reports have come out saying that the Cavaliers are working with Love to find suitors who are considered title contenders. This limits the Cavaliers to who they will speak with to help the forward chase another ring while the team starts to fully rebuild for the future. Suitors include the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Phoenix Suns. 

It has been reported since last year that the veteran forward would prefer a trade to the Trail Blazers. Although the current state of the Trail Blazers does not make them title contenders, they have the talent to bounce back in the Western Conference and make a run for the playoffs this year. Here is how a trade could look: 

Cavaliers would receive: 

  • Center Hassan Whiteside
  • Shooting guard Kent Bazemore
  • Future first-round pick

Trail Blazers would receive: 

  • Forward Kevin Love
  • Center Tristan Thompson 

This trade could help support both teams for their future goals. With the Trail Blazers, they now receive two quality big men. With injuries to Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, the team will be able to have more depth and versatility in their big man rotation. The Cavaliers would receive a first-round pick, which could be beneficial if the Trail Blazers were to continue this downward trend. The Cavs will also be able to dump Thompson’s and Love’s large contracts for younger and cheaper players. 

A more recent contender for Love has been the Phoenix Suns. The Suns would benefit from having a scoring forward next to Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. What the Suns would offer for the veteran would be more oriented through their selection of first-round picks since the team does not want to depart from any of their youthful nuclei. Here’s how this trade could possibly go: 

Cavaliers would receive: 

  • Guard Tyler Johnson 
  • Forward Frank Kaminsky 
  • Protected first-round pick; could become an unprotected first-round pick

Suns would receive: 

  • Kevin Love

Although this trade is a bit expensive for an aging Love, the Suns have been trying to reach the playoffs since 2014. They need another scorer for Booker to rely on to take the heat of the offense off his shoulders. The Cavaliers would benefit from this trade because they will receive a veteran guard who can help their young core develop and a future first-round pick for the rebuild. 

A more interesting trade rumor would be the one that involves the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are contending for a title this year and have a plethora of assets to obtain the veteran forward. A trade for Love would definitely help the Nuggets’ chances of getting to the 2020 Finals and would give them an edge for the next few years in the Western Conference. Here’s how the trade could possibly look: 

Cavaliers would receive: 

  • Forward Paul Millsap
  • Forward Michael Porter, Jr. 
  • A future first-round pick (2022 or later)

Nuggets would receive: 

  • Forward Kevin Love 
  • Forward Larry Nance, Jr. 

Michael Porter, Jr. has immense potential that the Cavaliers can not pass up if the Nuggets offer him. What the Cavaliers need most is young talent at the forward position. Porter, who has not played many minutes this year on a loaded Nuggets roster, would get a fresh start to try to take the keys in Cleveland. Millsap, who is on a one-year deal, would be perfect for the Cavaliers as they would not have to deal with a long contract and worry about cap space for their younger guys and next offseason. The Nuggets would upgrade their power forward position in terms of offense, which has been their biggest problem of the season. Love provides the outside scoring and picks and roll option that Millsap could not bring night in and night out. The Nuggets would also be able to replace Porter’s minutes with the addition of Nance. 

The Oklahoma City Thunder have been in these trade rumors, as well, and just like the Trail Blazers, they have been in the headlines for months. The Thunder have been playing surprisingly well, considering that they lost guards Russell Westbrook and Paul George during the offseason. Led by the aging Chris Paul, the Thunder seem to think that they could acquire the veteran forward to make a possible playoff push. Here’s how the trade could look: 

Cavaliers would receive: 

  • Center Steven Adams 
  • Guard Terrence Furguson
  • Guard Hamidou Diallo 

Thunder would receive: 

  • Forward Kevin Love 

Out of all the scenarios, this trade would only be beneficial to the Cavaliers if they believe that Steven Adams and the two guards would help the team for the future. Adams is currently 26 and is considered one of the better post defenders and rebounders in the league. The Cavaliers would get talented defenders from this trade, but as for potential, they would not get a player with a high ceiling. The Thunder, who would most likely only receive Love in the trade, would get a huge talent boost to pair with Paul but would lose out on roster depth. 

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