When the Cavaliers traded for Kevin Love two years ago, they hoped he was the missing piece to a championship team. But in this year’s finals, they’ve looked more like a champion when Love was missing.
Cleveland’s only win came in a Game 3 blowout with Love unable to play because of a concussion. He returned for Friday’s Game 4, but managed just 11 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes as the Cavs fell into a 3-1 hole.
Love came to Cleveland in a trade with Minnesota to form a new Big Three with Kyrie Irving and the returning LeBron James. But questions about his compatibility started almost immediately and grew louder as Andrew Wiggins, the key player sent to the Wolves in the deal, blossomed into the 2014/15 Rookie of the Year.
Love and the Cavs had a chance to end their uneasy partnership when he became a free agent last summer. Instead, he re-signed in Cleveland for about $110MM over five years, agreeing to terms shortly after the July 1st start of free agency. Later in the offseason, the Cavaliers committed $82MM over five years to Tristan Thompson, also a power forward.
With another championship slipping out of reach and a huge luxury tax payment due, speculation is growing that the Cavs might try to trade Love this summer. The Denver Post’s Christopher Dempsey wrote in April that the Nuggets would be a willing partner, possibly parting with a group of young players who are a better fit for coach Tyronn Lue’s fast-paced offense. The Celtics, Trail Blazers, Suns, Wizards, Rockets, Mavericks, Magic and Hornets would also be interested, according to Tom Ziller of SB Nation.
Love clearly wants to be in Cleveland and is irritated by the talk that the franchise needs to get rid of him to win a title. He showed his loyalty during free agency and doesn’t want to be dispatched now as a scapegoat.
“I don’t know how to answer it, because I have a couple bad games last series [against Toronto], tough games, and have to come back and do whatever I needed to do to help the team,” Love told Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “Still, it’s just never enough.”
But the economic reality is that Love is owed $93MM over the next four seasons. Add in the more than $67.7MM the Cavs must pay Thompson over that span and the possibility that James will become a power forward as he gets older, and it’s easy to see that Cleveland is overloaded at one position.
That brings us to tonight’s question: Should the Cavaliers trade Love this summer, and where would be the best spot for him? Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.