Cleveland Cavaliers' forward Kevin Love may be on the move this season as his team looks for a trade. Photo via David Dermer
As we near the start of the trading season within the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers (5-18, currently on a 10 game losing streak) made it well known that their 31-year-old power forward Kevin Love would be on the trade market once and for all. Acquired via trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2014 after the Cavs had signed LeBron James in his return, the career 18 point scoring, 11 rebound grabbing, and 44% shooter has played the last 5 seasons in Cleveland during which he won his lone NBA championship in 2016 alongside James and former Cav's point guard Kyrie Irving.
Flash forward 3 and a 1/2 years later and Cleveland is back to the bottom of the barrel. Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs years ago (we all know how that turned out) and LeBron James left in free agency two summers back in favor of the Los Angles Lakers (currently in first place in the Western Conference at 21-3) after the Cavaliers last playoff appearance in which they got swept in the finals by the Golden State Warriors.
Now very much a rebuilding team, it makes sense as to why Cleveland is finally looking to get rid of Kevin Love and his insane contract. He signed a four-year extension that was worth $120 million with Cleveland in 2018 after the departure of LeBron. Now just barely a year later, he may be on the move via trade once again and guess who is reported as interested as always: the Boston Celtics.
Back in the days of post-Pierce Rajon Rondo, the Celtics were very interested in acquiring Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves themselves. At the time, the former UCLA Bruin was coming off of a career season averaging 26 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 4 assists on 45% shooting in 77 games. He also was a starting all-star for the Western Conference and made the all-NBA 2nd team, although Minnesota never made the playoffs in his time there. As a result, Love wanted out and rumors swirled for a while before it seemed as if a trade deal was set to be put in place with Boston, as Love and his agent came out to visit Rondo at Fenway Park.
However, as we all know that never happened. Love went to Cleveland and Rondo was traded to Dallas just a matter of months later by the Celtics, who were looking to start fresh. Ever since rumors of Boston being interested in Kevin Love have been off and on. Now with his home play in Quicken Loans Arena looking like it is coming to an end, the Celtics remain in the conversation as an unlikely destination for the power forward.
First of all, Love has been extremely injury prone over the years, suffering mostly from hip, ankle, back, and hand injuries. As recently as last January, he sat out a good chunk of time due to a toe injury that required surgery. With him getting older and the injuries happening more often, his contract just starts to look less and less attractive.
Then comes the contract itself, which would require a huge package from Boston to match it. If the Celtics were to trade for Love, they would be forced to lose either Gordon Hayward (do not touch him), Marcus Smart (absolutely not), and/or a bevy of young talent and draft picks. What we have going right now is working out pretty well, and if we were going to compromise or tweak that at all I would rather it be for a player who's assets we desperately need on the court: such as a rim-protecting center who is a dominant rebounder.
While Love is certainly a talented player who's perimeter shooting and solid rebounding would fit well into a Celtics uniform, his smaller size (6'8, 251 lbs) combined with the amount we would have to give up to get the aging forward would not be worth it in the long run.
On Love's side of things, he hasn't given any indication of wanting to play in Boston right now, not that he necessarily dictates that decision. A statement from his camp came out yesterday that Love was looking to go the Portland Trail Blazers, his hometown team from Oregon. I can certainly see the fit alongside Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Carmelo Anthony, although I do not know how far a guy like Love would get them out of the tough spot they find themselves in as we near the halfway marker on the season (10-15, 11th seed in the Western Conference).
If it was possible to get Kevin Love for cheap I would not be against it at all. He's an unselfish player who can very much handle himself on the court. I also think as an individual talent, he would fit well in a system such as Brad Stevens'. But the fact of the matter is that in the case of the Celtics, there are just too many negatives to overcome in trading for a player in such circumstances. The risks involving salary and losing potential young talent would not make Love worth it due to age and injuries. If we are going to have to give up some of that in the near future, I would rather it be for a guy like Steven Adams of Oklahoma City (who was also announced to be on the trade market in the last few days).
But what do you guys think? Should the Celtics go for Kevin Love? Is he the type of player that would make us a lock to come out of the East? Should we go for someone else or leave the team as is? And if we should go for someone else, who? Let me know in the comments down below.