Kevin Love doesn’t fit on the Cavaliers.
He’s a good veteran. They’re a bad team. His talent would be better served on a team ready to win now. Cleveland is unlikely to reach that level during Love’s remaining prime.
The Cavs are asking for a first-round pick in exchange for Love, one source with knowledge of the situation said. But teams are actually asking for a first-round pick from Cleveland just to absorb the final 3 1/2 years on his deal.
This is why Love didn’t crack my preseason list of players most likely to get traded this season. He has a $28,942,830 salary this season, and he’s due $91,459,342 over the next three years. The Cavaliers signed him to this contract to be an asset. Other teams view the 31-year-old as a liability.
A first-round pick going in opposite directions is a large gap to overcome.
Still, this is how negotiations work. There’s plenty of time for Cleveland and another team to find common ground.
With Love reportedly preferring a trade, the Cavs might want to help someone who helped them win a championship. They might also benefit from removing a sulking player amid resistance to coach John Beilein.
No other team looks desperate to add an offensively talented power forward. But that could change quickly with an injury, an unrelated trade or even just the progression of a season.
Love getting traded would be unsurprising. It also doesn’t appear close to happening.