The NBA bubble is in full effect.
As a humble teacher who spent the majority of his lunchtimes over the past two months sneaking the end of all the NBA playoff games in the staff room, I have come to a solution that solves the following three problems for the NBA.
1. Stopping LeBron James leaving Cleveland and sending the entire city into a recession.
2. Finding an Eastern Conference team worth the cost of the flights between cities during the NBA finals.
3. Finally getting to see Minnesota Kevin Love again.
The trade is quite simple according to ESPN’s Trade Machine:
Cleveland receive Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills, Portland receive Kevin Love and the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, while San Antonio receive Damian Lillard and Kyle Korver.
So, who says no?
The Cavs would drive Kevin Love to the airport if it meant bring Kawhi Leonard in, and the sweetener of Patty Mills filling the role of either JR Smith’s starting role, or coming off the bench and providing much-needed floor spacing.
In this trade, the Cavs not only get younger, but they also gain a two-way superstar entering his prime, who – as an added bonus – can no longer guard LeBron James in any future match ups.
Kawhi could realistically win the MVP next season as he returns from his injury, providing LeBron the opportunity to coast through the regular season and peak for the playoffs.
26.9 points per game
26.2 points per game.
Cleveland cannot say yes fast enough.
Portland receive Kevin Love, who attended high school in Oregon, which makes him a great addition to the ‘home grown’ feel of the Portland Trailblazers.
Love was once a walking double-double when playing for the Timberwolves and he has never reached these peaks as a number two option with LeBron. With this trade, Love becomes a realistic number one option and forms a dangerous inside-outside threat with CJ McCollum.
Many experts have mentioned that the duo of McCollum and Lillard are not going to be able to lead the Blazers to a championship, and we saw in the playoffs that a large body to make the likes of Anthony Davis and Draymond Green work on defence would make a huge difference to Portland’s playoff hopes.
Portland also gets the added bonus on pick eight in this year’s draft, which has the possibility of becoming a two-way wing type such as Michael Porter Jr, who can make this a legitimate big three to contend in the Western Conference.
Number 24 draft pick in the 2018 NBA draft
Number eight draft pick in the 2018 NBA draft.
Portland says yes.
San Antonio would prefer to have LeBron come to them, rather than sending their best player to him, however if the relationship between the Spurs and Leonard is as bad as people are reporting, then this could be the best deal they Spurs receive.
Boston may trump this deal with a mix of young talent and draft picks, however they are up to their elbows in trading for Anthony Davis so this may take priority over Leonard.
The Spurs receive an All-NBA point guard to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge and have the potential to unleash a two point-guard system for Gregg Popovich to work with to make the offence really click.
Adding to this the No.24 pick in this year’s draft is deep in Spurs territory to find a hidden gem to add to their well-oiled machine.
Kyle Korver then becomes a salary filler who can still provide outstanding floor spacing and, as he showed when in Atlanta, he can thrive in a ball-motion offence.
The Spurs lose
The Spurs gain
Number 24 pick in the 2018 NBA draft
Ideally, the Spurs say no and keep Leonard, however if they cannot keep him happy, then this deal provides them a superstar in return and keeps them relevant in the Western Conference.
Who says no?