If the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to move Kevin Love at the NBA trade deadline, we’d love to see one of these deals come to fruition.
Ball-slamming aside, Kevin Love has been a loyal soldier for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The fact of the matter, though, is that he’s an expensive soldier for a team that’s fighting a losing battle at 12-32 on the 2019-20 NBA season. So as the 2020 NBA trade deadline approaches, Love figures to be one of the names thrown around as a player that could be on the move.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported in early December that the Cavaliers were willing to listen to offers for Love leading up to the NBA trade deadline. Furthermore, Love has expressed his desire to simply play for a contender. And contenders could be interested in acquiring the 31-year old power forward who’s averaging 19.8 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per 36 minutes this season with a true shooting percentage of 59.6, per Basketball-Reference.
But what teams have the flexibility with contracts and a possible desire to add Kevin Love to their team? Let’s examine that and conjure up five NBA trade deadline deals that we love for the Cavaliers forward.
5. Celtics going in
F Gordon Hayward
Protected 2020 First-Round Pick
PF Kevin Love
At their best, the Boston Celtics have looked the part of a team that could emerge out of the Eastern Conference and challenge for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The addition of Kemba Walker in free agency this past offseason has worked beautifully for Brad Stevens’ club and the young grouping of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown appear to be fully coming into their own.
The one piece that is seemingly out of place in Boston, however, is Gordon Hayward. When he’s been healthy in the 2019-20 season, he’s looked much improved from the player we saw last season when he was clearly still recovering from his devastating leg injury. At the same time though, Hayward can create a bit of a logjam on the wing with Tatum and Brown that leaves the Celtics little flexibility as they try to work Walker and Marcus Smart into the rotation.
Trading Hayward and the Milwaukee Bucks (by way of the Suns) top-7 protected first-round pick in exchange for Kevin Love would alleviate those issues for the Celtics. In fact, it could make them more dangerous. Love has long seemed like a phenomenal fit in Stevens’ offense and would give Boston a lethal small-ball lineup with him playing at the five.
If you’re looking at one-to-one player comparisons, Hayward and Love are quite similar in terms of their statistical impact. However, when you then consider the fit of each player in Boston as currently constructed, making a move for Love could unlock the top-end potential of what the Celtics can be.