No significant sources have linked Kevin Love with a move out of Cleveland. However, the age gap between Love and the Cavs’ recent draft picks indicates that Love very well may be on his way out of Cleveland sooner rather than later.
Two teams who have been highly touted as possible destinations for Love have been the Portland Trailblazers and the Miami Heat. While Miami missed out on Russell Westbrook, Love might be the next addition to slide in next to Jimmy Butler. For Portland, acquiring Love might be necessary in order to maintain their spot in the West’s hierarchy.
Trailblazers Trade: F Zach Collins, G Kent Bazemore, protected first-round pick
Cavaliers Trade: F Kevin Love
Cleveland would likely acquire either Hassan Whiteside or Kent Bazemore in order to match Love’s salary. Ideally, the main swap in a trade with Portland would be Love for Bazemore’s expiring contract. Beyond Bazemore, the Cavaliers might be interested in young players such as Zach Collins, a potential like-for-like replacement for Love, Anfernee Simons, or the recently-drafted Nassir Little. Collins, Bazemore, and some second-round picks seem like fair compensation for Love.
If the trade were to be processed, Love would immediately slide in at the power forward spot for Portland. Without Nurkic at the center position, Love could ease himself into an on-court relationship with CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard. Love would also add an outside shooting presence as well as an elite post presence for Portland.
For the Cavs, taking on a player like Collins is an ideal move. He can very well lineup alongside the young backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. In essence, the Cavaliers would be trying to emulate the current Blazer roster as a double-small guard accompanied by a productive power forward roster could find success. Collins has the makings of a future productive player. He has shown the capability to knock down threes while also adding a threat on the glass. Collins is very raw in terms of talent, but the former Gonzaga Bulldog has gobs of potential he has yet to fulfill.
Bazemore would likely play out the season and enter the 2020 free agency.
Heat Trade: Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, second-round pick
Cavaliers Trade: Kevin Love
Goran Dragic is the likely option for the salary swap. And although James Johnson would suffice, the Cavaliers would balk at the length of that contract. Beyond Dragic, Justise Winslow would be the optimal return for Love. Especially since Tyler Herro has been idolized for his NBA Summer League performance.
Love would slide in as the starter at the power forward spot for Miami. He and Jimmy Butler would immediately make the Heat a serious playoff threat. But without Dragic or Winslow, the ceiling on the Heat would be a middle playoff seed.
Dragic would almost certainly be a buyout candidate similar. Winslow would push Cedi Osman out of the starting lineup, creating some form of Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Winslow, Larry Nance, and Tristan Thompson as a starting five. Winslow has had a slow start to his NBA career, and a move to Cleveland would curb Winslow’s potential as a point guard, but Winslow would become the third decent facilitator in the Cavs lineup.
Love is by no means a guarantee to be traded, but it might behoove the Cavaliers to swap Love for some young players.