Kevin Love is arguably the most important player in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ ranks alongside Collin Sexton, with the team reluctant to let the former Minnesota Timberwolves player. A team that tried their luck to sign Love were the Portland Trail Blazers last season with the Cavs absolutely rejecting their inquiries.
Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz described earlier this month that the Trail Blazers saw with good eyes trying to trade for Love. Following this speculation, Mike Richman reported that Portland inquired about the hometown hero, but the interest was not mutual from Cleveland (via Locked on Blazers):
“Last summer, the Blazers went into the offseason with very little of value. They had a bunch of big contracts with multiple years left. They didn’t have many enticing young players to make trades, they did not have a high draft pick to do things. But the thing they did have was a fairly large trade exception that was going to expire. And they spent much of the early part of the offseason calling around to teams trying to get them to give away big contract money so they could absorb it with that trade exception. And the Blazers were willing to pay a fat luxury tax and figure it out. One of the teams that they called last summer was the Cleveland Cavaliers… At that time last summer, the Cavs told the Blazers they did not want to make that trade.”
At that time, Love was on an expiring deal with the 2016 NBA Champions. Moreover, Portland would have had their own opportunity to negotiate a long-term extension for the big man to play for them, but Cleveland felt they could still make it to the playoff with Love on the roster.
He ended up signing a five-year deal worth $113.2 million with the Cavs, whose season was anything but good, mostly because of LeBron James departure to Los Angeles Lakers and the fact that Love himself was only able to play in 22 games. However, the team showed some improvement when the Portland-born made his comeback to the court, combining very well with rookie Collin Sexton.
Chris Fedor recently noted that much has changed since the last offseason (via Cleveland.com):
“I don’t know how many other ways I can write this response before it resonates. Love is not one of the players the Cavs are looking to deal. They want him here. They believe his professionalism and leadership are important. He’s the kind of player any team should want around a young group because of the daily example he sets. Would the Cavs move him in the right deal? Sure, they would consider it. No one should be labeled untouchable this early into the rebuild.”
Love would be a great addition to the Blazers, as they look just a big man away to become serious title contenders. However, making a trade for the Power Forward/Center is way more difficult than last year and Portland is not willing to pay the luxury tax required for adding another star.