One month ago, when Cavaliers’ general manager Koby Altman was asked if he had any interest in trading Kevin Love, he quickly and emphatically said, “No. Not at all.”
Nobody around the league believed him.
Now comes this report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, speaking on Countdown before the Nuggets at Celtics game.
“I’m told that Cleveland is ready now to listen to offers on Kevin Love as we get to that December 15 date and then the February trade deadline. If somebody blows them away with an offer, this is a team clearly in a rebuild.”
Dec. 15 is the first day players signed this summer can be traded. The trade deadline itself is Feb.
Kevin Love can help a lot of teams, ones on the fringes of contending — Boston, Denver, Toronto (there is a lot of buzz the Raptors could make a bold move to defend their title), Houston (although it’s very difficult to construct a Rockets’ deal that works) — and teams such as Portland that are not living up to early expectations but want to win now. There will be interest.
While Love became a whipping boy for some fans, he is still a quality player averaging 16.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, is shooting 37.6 percent from three, he can space the floor, is a brilliant outlet passer, and while certainly not a great defender is better than his reputation on that end.
Love is also very expensive — he is in the first year of a four-year, $120 million contract extension — and is injury prone. Which will limit the number of suitors, matching salaries while giving up picks/young players to make this work is not for every team.
But there will be suitors.
On the Cleveland trade front, there also will be considerable interest in Tristan Thompson, who is having his best season in years — 13.9 points and 10.6 rebounds a game, with solid rim protection on defense — and he is an expiring contract (but at $18.5 million). It’s more likely Thompson gets moved than Love.
But it sounds like the Cavaliers are open for business.