The Cleveland Cavaliers are still early in the rebuilding process for a franchise that went to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals just 13 months ago.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst looked at a number of possible trade candidates across the league and offered this opinion on Love’s status:
“Love is about to start a four-year, $120 million contract extension that he signed last year. The team is eager to see how he’ll fit into new coach John Beilein’s system. Love played just 22 games last season because of foot surgery. These facts don’t add to a trade scenario. However, Love and the team knew when he signed the deal that there was a good chance he wouldn’t finish it in Cleveland, and a trade may be inevitable at some point. Interest in Love could ramp up if he plays well for Team USA in the World Cup this summer in China.”
Thompson’s limited overall game and recent lack of durability, coupled with an expiring contract after this season, make him a more likely candidate to be dealt, according to Windhorst:
“The rebounding and defensive specialist is going into the final year of his contract at $18.5 million. After once playing in 447 consecutive games, Thompson has missed 68 games over the past two seasons. The Cavs are likely to try to deal Thompson or center John Henson, who played only 14 games last season, by the trade deadline.”
Last month, the Cavaliers chose three players in the first round of the NBA draft, who will play with last year’s eighth overall pick Collin Sexton. All those players have the makings of a potentially strong backcourt, but the team is looking for young veterans in the free-agency market who can develop their abilities under new head coach John Beilein.
Love turns 31 in September and has been in the NBA for 11 seasons, while the 28-year-old Thompson has seven years of playing experience in the league. Trading one or both of them would deliver a short-term hit to the Cavs, but considering they’re coming off a 19-63 season, they can’t really fall all that much further.
Of course, the bottom line is that another team has to be interested in acquiring either Love or Thompson and offer the best possible compensation to the Cavaliers. It remains to be seen if that takes place in the near future.