CLEVELAND - Ever since the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired him in 2014, Kevin Love's name has almost incessantly been linked to trade rumors.
That, however, may not be the case for much longer. According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the Cavs are no longer actively shopping Love, who has been the subject of trade discussions dating back to Cleveland's loss to the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals.
The Cavs have contemplated trading Love off and on almost since that series, though they have no plans to do so right now, sources say. (Love does not have much standalone trade value.) They nearly flipped him for Paul George in a three-team trade in late June. It sometimes seems remarkable Love has survived this long in Cleveland, and that he outlasted [Kyrie] Irving. Love sulked during much of the 2015-16 season. He absorbed LeBron's passive-aggressive tweets, the dirty looks after botched rotations on defense. It would not have been surprising had the Cavs lost him sometime in the winter of 2016.
With Irving no longer in Cleveland and Isaiah Thomas set to miss at least the start of the upcoming season due to a hip injury, Love is expected to enjoy an expanded role in the Cavs' offense in the coming year. Last season, Love averaged 19.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in 60 regular season games, earning the fourth All-Star selection of his 9-year NBA career.
Yet despite his impressive numbers, Love always seemed to be viewed as expendable as he played third fiddle behind LeBron James and Irving in the first three seasons of his Cavs career. As Lowe noted, his previous role also caused his trade value to take a hit, making him uniquely more valuable to Cleveland than perhaps any other team.
Circumstances, of course, can change, but for now, the Cavs appear prepared to lean on Love more than they have at any other point in the past three years. How he performs as Cleveland's new No. 2 option will be interesting to see and should ultimately play a large role in determining how the Cavs fare in the post-Irving era.
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