It’s the off-season before the 2003 NBA season, the Celtics had just made the playoffs for the first time in seven years and were only two games off reaching the Finals.
Kevin Love is currently stuck on the wrong team.
Last season, Cleveland re-signed Love to a four-year, $120m extension, leaving them with the tenth highest payroll in the league.
Cavs GM Koby Altman has said that the there is no interest in trading Love “at all” but, with the right offer of expiring contracts or draft picks, the rebuilding Cavaliers may consider moving him to get out from under his four-year extension.
Cleveland receives: Hassan Whiteside, 2021 second-round pick
Portland receives: Kevin Love
Portland have had a far from impressive beginning to the 2019-20 season, with the latest 114-106 loss to the Toronto Raptors dropping the Blazers to 4-8. It would be an understatement to suggest Portland desperately need that solidified third scoring option behind star backcourt duo Damian Lillard and C.J McCollum, and they can also strengthen their depth on the wings.
Portland can find this player in Love, a perfect wing scorer who provides the Blazers with depth at the power forward position, while also playing as a stretch five while Jusuf Nurkic recovers from his injury.
For the Cavs, receiving a second-round pick in 2021 along with the expiring deal of Hassan Whiteside can help them with the rebuild. Cleveland fans may be disappointed in the lack of value they are receiving, but his long-term salary – which expires when he is 34 – drastically decreases his value.
Cleveland receives: Hassan Whiteside, Kent Bazemore, 2020 first-round pick (Top-10 Protected)
Portland receives: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson
This package seems to be better for the Cavaliers, as they cash in on Tristan Thompson’s value with his strong recent performance by receiving a protected first-round pick from the Blazers.
Cleveland also would be receiving Kent Bazemore’s expiring contract in the deal, a player who has been struggling so far. Portland also receive cover for injured Jusuf Nurkic, as Thompson has shown massive improvement in his game so far this season.
This deal also improves the depth of the Blazers, which is crucial in the post-season last season as the Toronto Raptors’ role players – like Fred VanVleet – stepped up in the big moments, while the Golden State Warriors struggled with injuries to stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
Cleveland receives: Clint Capela, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Houston receives: Kevin Love
Charlotte receives: Ben McLemore, Isaiah Hartenstein, Nene, 2021 second-round pick (from Houston or Philadelphia)
This deal would give the Cavaliers a great return for Kevin Love; a promising young center in Houston’s Clint Capela, who currently is owed $90 million over the next five seasons. The Cavs would also receive Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s expiring deal, a player they can use for wing depth or flip later at the deadline.
Houston would finally find the ‘third-wheel’ to their star duo of Russell Westbrook and James Harden, who can also space the floor and run the five in a small-ball line-up.
Houston could eventually role out a closing line-up of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Eric Gordon, P.J Tucker and Kevin Love. The Hornets would receive low value assets in exchange for a role player who fell out of the rotation, but may be able to make something of Isaiah Hartenstein and the 2021 second-round pick.