Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love seems unlikely to get traded before next month’s trade deadline, but according to a recent report, the team will have options this offseason when it comes to determining whether Love continues his career in a Cavs uniform or somewhere else.
Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com looked at those options and noted that NBA rules had put a six-month moratorium on the Cavaliers trading Love once he signed his deal, a span of time that’s now ended. Though Love is now able to be traded, Pluto explained that his current injured status presumably makes other teams reluctant to offer anything of value to the Cavs:
“But trading him at this point makes very little sense unless some team wanted to give up a first-round pick and some other goodies for a guy who still has to prove he’s healthy.”
Any trade market for the 30-year-old Love might improve if he returns and proves himself to be fully recovered from his Nov. 2 toe surgery. Yet because he’s been out for most of the last four months, the uncertain time frame of his eventual return might not give him enough time to get back to his old self.
Pluto notes that if a trade does occur involving Love this offseason, the number of possible trading partners constitutes just over half the teams in the league. That may allow the Cavaliers to work the best possible deal:
“I was talking to an NBA executive who told me that ‘at least 16 teams will have salary cap room to sign a max-player contract this summer. And there aren’t 16 free agents worth a max deal.’”
Love signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension last summer. Still, that amount is much less than other players around the league who are signed to max deals. The fact that Love averages a double-double every game is a valuable commodity in any trade discussion.
Pluto points out a possible destination in such a trade, though notes that it’s dependent upon Love showing he’s fully recovered:
“Love’s contract could still be OK with some teams, especially those in the West looking to contend for playoff spots in 2019-20. A lot will depend upon how Love plays when he finally does return.”
Of course, the Cavaliers could simply end up keeping Love, whose absence has been part of the reason why the team has had major struggles on both sides of the ball. His veteran presence would also be an asset as the increasingly younger Cavs develop further.
Until he does take the court again, the uncertainty will remain.