Probably. Maybe. Or maybe they start Markkanen because they just paid him so much and choose to slow the development of No. 3 pick Mobley by bringing him off the bench. Have fun with that J.B. Bickerstaff!
Then there is Kevin Love. Where does he fit into all this?
When news of the three-team trade that sent out Larry Nance Jr. and brought in Markkanen broke, there was some speculation about Love getting the Blake Griffin “we don’t care what it costs, just go away” massive buyout. Terry Pluto at the Cleveland Plain Dealer even reported it, but quickly got pushback that it’s not happening.
An NBA source told me the Cavs were making progress toward a buyout for Love, who has two years and $60 million left on his contract. But the Cavs and other NBA sources have strongly denied it. This likely just another Kevin Love rumor, and there have been so many over the years.
Love has two years, $60.2 million remaining on his max contract, and to trade it the Cavaliers would have to attach so many picks/young players as sweeteners it would not be worth it.
The Cavaliers would be happy to buy Love out if he was willing to take a healthy haircut to get out of Cleveland and onto another team. But for Love, why would he do that? There is not a Kemba Walker-like situation out there for Love, at best he gets a minimum contract (Walker took a buyout with the Thunder, who then saved money when the Knicks signed him for $7.8 million). If Love wants his full $60 million, the only thing the Cavaliers can do is wait out the market and hope for a trade to materialize.
Love played in just 25 games for the Cavaliers last season due to injuries, averaging 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. Love tried to play for Team USA this summer in the Tokyo Olympics but was not healthy and in shape to do so, and left during camp to be replaced by JaVale McGee.