The 2018-19 NBA season has not started well for the Cleveland Cavaliers. After a 0-6 start where the Cavs were defeated handily in each contest, the front office has already decided to part ways with head coach Tyronn Lue.
Now searching for a new coach and their first win of the season, things have gone haywire in the post-LeBron era in Cleveland.
Another issue currently on the backburner in Cleveland is what to do with All-Star forward Kevin Love. Love joined the Cavaliers in 2014, teaming up with LeBron and Kyrie Irving to win the franchise’s first NBA Championship the following season. He has been a solid role player on both sides of the floor, scoring efficiently, grabbing numerous rebounds, and hitting teammates on his signature full-court passes.
Now that the championship days are numbered in Cleveland, there is a potential to really kick-start the team’s rebuild by trading Kevin Love. Despite being 30 years old, Love still has plenty of game left in the tank and could be very valuable in the right situation. Here are the top three teams that should be looking to acquire Love from the Cavs:
- Potential Trade: Cavaliers trade Love for Trey Lyles, Mason Plumlee, Hawks’ 2019 second-round, Nuggets’ 2020 first-round draft picks
Unlike the Cavs, the Denver Nuggets are in a great place as a team right now. They have an emerging superstar in versatile center Nikola Jokic, young but talented role players in Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, and Will Barton, and strong veteran presence with Paul Millsap and Isaiah Thomas. After narrowly missing the playoffs last year, the Nuggets are an up-and-coming team that will be making noise in the Western Conference for years to come.
If Denver wants to take another step in the right direction, they should think about trading for Love.
He would be a great frontcourt backup for both Jokic and Millsap, both of players whom Love mirrors in his ability to stretch the defense, rebound, and run an offense through. Love’s incredible outlet passing would also allow shooters in Murray and Harris to run the floor in transition, bolstering the Nuggets offense furthermore.
While other teams would not like Love’s new 5-year, $24M contract, this would be perfect for Denver since Millsap is on the last year of his contract. This ensures they have a starting-caliber power forward for years to come if Millsap decides to leave.
The Cavaliers benefit here for multiple reasons as well.
If the potential trade above were to happen, they would get a young talent in Trey Lyles, a suitable starting center whose money is off the books next year with Plumlee, and begin to stockpile some draft picks. If you are looking for a very mutually beneficial trade, look no further.
- Potential Trade: Cavaliers trade Love for Malcolm Brogdon, John Henson, Mathew Dellavedova, Thon Maker, Bucks’ 2020 first-round draft pick
After a 6-0 start to the season, the Milwaukee Bucks are looking like potential front-runners to come out of the Eastern Conference along with the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Giannis is a once in a lifetime player, and is only getting better and better. Khris Middleton is one of the smoothest shooters and scorers in the NBA. Tony Snell and Eric Bledsoe are great three-and-D players on the perimeter. Overall, the Bucks starters are as solid as it gets.
One place they have been lacking the past few years are in their big men. Milwaukee added Brook Lopez over the offseason, but their depth down low could still use some help. That is where Kevin Love comes into the picture. Love would fit in perfectly in several lineups with the Bucks, including a small-ball lineup where Love plays a stretch center.
This would allow him and the wing players to go beyond the three-point line while Giannis makes plays for himself and others. Milwaukee could also go with Love and Lopez in the frontcourt, which along with The Greek Freak, Middleton, and Tony Snell, would be a gargantuan lineup that can still shoot from distance.
While I love this trade for the Bucks, it would be iffy for the Cavs. They get former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, but it will be on the last year of his contract. The first-round draft pick would be solid but not great since Milwaukee is going to be good. Thon Maker, a 7’1 shoot-first center, is a very intriguing player with room to grow, but it may not be enough to trade Love.
Oklahoma City Thunder
- Potential Trade: Cavaliers trade Love for Dennis Schroeder, Patrick Patterson, 76ers’ 2020 top-20 protected first-round draft pick (owned by Thunder)
The Oklahoma City Thunder are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Despite the fact they have former MVP Russell Westbrook, All-NBA player Paul George, and a top-10 center in Steven Adams, things haven’t gone quite right this year. OKC just got their first win and are still looking to find their identity as a team this season.
By adding Kevin Love to the Thunder equation, they would find themselves a much more solid team for multiple reasons. The starting lineup of Westbrook-Andre Roberson-George-Love-Adams would be one of the best in the NBA, and Love would also be able to be the number one scoring option with the second-unit. While the trade may deplete their bench, it still could be beneficial in the long term.
Cleveland, on the other hand, would benefit greatly from this trade in the short-term. Dennis Schroeder would be a viable starting point guard option for the Cavs while they develop rookie Collin Sexton and could eventually be flipped into a draft pick in a couple years.
Patterson would be a fine starter during their rebuilding phase and the draft pick would be icing on the cake. Maybe none of these trades are ideal for Cleveland, but if they are looking to unload Love, they need to be thinking about all their options.