CLEVELAND — Can the Cleveland Cavaliers find a dance partner in time to complete a deal for power forward Kevin Love ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline Thursday?
Well, while reports to the contrary have come up in the last week, it seems there is hope that one team could join in on a deal for Love, according to ESPN NBA senior writer Zach Lowe.
“The Cavs appear to have very little market for Kevin Love right now, sources said,” Lowe wrote. “Everything is malleable until Thursday’s deadline, but nothing appears serious on the Love front at this moment.
“The wild card was always Phoenix. The Suns are hard to predict. Rivals struggle to get a feel for the Suns’ objectives. They are four games out of the No. 8 spot, and Robert Sarver, their owner, has made no secret over the past few years of his ardent desire to snap their streak of postseason absences.”
According to Lowe, the Suns could use Tyler Johnson’s $19 million expiring contract, as well as a combination of first-round picks and mid-level deals to facilitate a trade for Love if they do, in fact, pursue the All-Star stretch four.
Currently, Love is in his sixth season with the Cavaliers after being traded to Cleveland by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the summer of 2014, which helped create a “super team” with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
During the summer of 2018, Love signed a long-term contract extension worth $120 million over four years. Following the 2019-2020 season, Love will have three years remaining on his pact with the Cavaliers.
Love is due the balance of $28.9 million this season, as well as $31.2 million in both 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. During the final year of the deal, Love is expected to make $28.9 million, meaning anyone who trades for him now would pick up more than $100 million in salary over the next three-plus seasons.
Limited to just 22 games during the 2018-2019 season because of injury, Love averaged 17.0 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting .385/.361/.904 from the field, three-point range and free-throw line, respectively, but has turned things around in 2019-2020.
Over 44 starts with the Cavaliers, Love has averaged 17.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists over 31.1 minutes per game, while shooting .452/.379/.846 from the field, three-point range and free-throw line, respectively.
Love has improved his points per game, shooting percentage from the field and three-point percentage from last season to this year.
In 337 regular-season games over six seasons with the Cavaliers, Love has averaged 17.2 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.7 steals per outing while averaging 31.1 minutes per outing and shooting .433 from the field, as well as .376 from three-point range and .848 at the free-throw line.
In what could have been his final game in a Cavaliers uniform at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse Monday night, Love scored 33 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, both of which led the team. It was Love’s seventh game of the season with at least 25 points and marked the 12th time this year that he led the Cavaliers in scoring.
The Cavaliers are 13-38 heading into Wednesday night’s game at the Oklahoma City Thunder. Currently, the Cavaliers are tied for the worst record in the Eastern Conference and just one game in back of the Golden State Warriors for the lowest win total in the entire NBA.