Kevin Love’s contract reportedly an anchor dragging down trade talks

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If you’ve followed the Kevin Love trade saga, this is not new news.

It’s not news that Love wants out of Cleveland and is acting out. It’s also not news there hasn’t been much heat around Love trade talks. Love still brings real value on the court — 16.5 points and 10.6 rebounds a game this season, while shooting 37.5 percent from three — and could help a lot of teams. However, the three-plus years remaining on his four-year, $120 million contract extension suffocates trade talks. That’s a lot of money and years for a productive but no longer All-Star player with a lengthy injury history.

While there have been vague reports of optimism that a Love trade could come about, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his podcast this week that Love trade talks are struggling to gain traction. Guess why? (Hat tip to Real GM for the transcription.)

“(Love) absolutely, totally wants to get out of there. It has driven him various levels of crazy to be there this season, but there’s not that much traction for a trade as far I can tell… That is a bit of a mess to say the least.

“I think there’s teams that would do it. One of the things that’s been remarkable to me as I’ve talked to some people around the league about Kevin in the last 48-72 hours is there’s a lot of people who really, really value him and really like him, but the problem is because of the contract, it’s a difficult to come up with a trade for. Because the Cavs are viewing trading an All-Star level player. The other teams are saying ‘Yeah, he’s a good player but we’re taking on this money.’ They think they’re bailing the Cavs out.”

This is a classic case of a team valuing its own player higher than the rest of the league does.

A Love trade has always struck me as more likely during the summer — especially this upcoming slow free agent summer when teams may get desperate — than at the deadline. This is not a rental for a stretch run; any team that trades for him is in the Love business for a while. That is making teams balk.

There are going to be a lot of Love trade rumors between now and Feb. 6, but it’s far more likely a big such as Andre Drummond gets moved than Love.