With Kevin Love at the front and center of every trade rumor, the Cavs (no doubt) are feeling enormous pressure to deal him as the NBA’s trade season prepares to kick off.
With this in mind, what might be after in exchange for one of their most beloved stars?
According to The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd, they are seeking, at the very least, a first-round pick. Unfortunately, it won’t come easy for Cleveland.
The Cavs are asking for a first-round pick in exchange for Love, one source with knowledge of the situation said. But teams are actually asking for a first-round pick from Cleveland just to absorb the final 3 1/2 years on his deal. It only takes one injury or one team to change all of that, but at this point, the gap between what the Cavs want and what is being offered seems pretty wide.
Love is in the first year of a four-year, $120 million extension he signed in the weeks after LeBron James left. This mammoth contract, coupled with Love’s concerning injury history, will make it difficult for Cleveland to find an offer they like. Still, they have made virtually every player available in an effort to shake things up.
The Cavs have made it known they are open for business. One source said the Cavs have made “basically everyone but Darius” Garland available in trade. That includes all of their expiring contracts, which isn’t a surprise. They are looking for future draft capital, namely first-round picks. But none of their players on expiring deals are likely to fetch a first-round pick without taking back bad money. Not even Tristan Thompson, who is having a terrific season. The fact they’re all going to be free agents next summer is flattening the value.
Clearly, the Cavs are willing to do whatever it takes for more picks and young players. While Love’s ability to do that it still up in the air, there are several teams desperate enough to consider it.
The Blazers, who are off to a rough 10-15 start, might be willing to overpay for Kevin if it means they get his production in the frontcourt. The Nuggets, who are seeking a piece to put them over the top, might want to give up some good assets for a proven, veteran outside shooter.
Expect the Cavs to be increasingly aggressive in trade talks this season, and expect Kevin Love to be at the center of them all.