In 2014, the Cavaliers traded away former top draft picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett to acquire Kevin Love from the Timberwolves. That showed that the team had confidence in making Love a key part of the team with LeBron James returning to Cleveland after his stint with the Heat. He never really lived up to the expectations the Cavs had for him, and he has been the subject of trade speculation since James left to go to the Lakers. So is it time for the Cavaliers to send Love to another team? And what teams might be interested?
The argument for trading Kevin Love
The league is more wide open than it has been in recent years with the player movement that has gone down this offseason. Many teams that are looking to win a championship have two stars and would like to add a third star to their rosters. While Love probably can’t be the top guy on a championship team, he is a good piece of the puzzle to have. If a team thinks he could be their missing piece, they may be willing to give the Cavs a significant return to add Love.
After a 19-win season, the Cavs have to rebuild, so getting players and picks for Love could help them get better faster than if they keep him and potentially get a lesser return if they trade him later.
The Pacers would like to get more offense from the power forward spot, which Love can provide them. They have an opening at the position after Thaddeus Young signed with the Bulls, and Love would be an improvement over Young, including in his ability to make threes. Among the players the Pacers could send to the Cavaliers are Myles Turner or Goga Bitzade, along with a future first-rounder. Adding Love would allow the Pacers to pair him up with Victor Oladipo to make a formidable duo as they look to compete in the East.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have a connection to the Cavs that could help make a Love trade between the two happen. Pelicans executive David Griffin was previously the GM in Cleveland, and the Cavaliers won the 2016 championship during his tenure in the front office. Griffin was also the one who pulled the trigger on the deal that sent Love to the Cavaliers, so he obviously likes him.
The Pelicans acquired a lot of draft picks in the Anthony Davis trade they can use to add Love, which could make for an interesting return for the Cavs. The Pelicans already improved their team this offseason by drafting Zion Williamson, and teaming him up with Kevin Love would make the team even better. But in a tough West, trading for Love may not be enough for the Pelicans to make the playoffs after a 33-49 season. That could make Griffin think twice about trading for him again.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Cavs are reportedly looking for a package of young players and draft picks in exchange for Love. The Trail Blazers could give the Cavs what they want — and they have the need. They have an explosive backcourt with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, and Kevin Love could help them up front.
Adding Love could give the Blazers the final push they need to get over the hump in the Western Conference, reach the NBA Finals, and compete for a title. The Blazers could offer a package that includes one of Zach Collins, Anfernee Simons, or Nassir Little with a first-round pick in a future draft.