During the first half of the 2019/20 season, a report stated that if Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love was traded, he preferred to end up with his hometown Trail Blazers. Portland reportedly offered expiring contracts to Cleveland in exchange for Love, but were unable to complete a deal.
Love – who was born in Southern California and played for UCLA but grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon – never publicly confirmed that Portland would have been his ideal landing spot. However, with the veteran forward and the Cavs increasingly likely to part ways sometime before his contract expires in 2023, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports asked Love during the most recent episode of his Posted Up podcast about the possibility of eventually joining the Blazers.
“Who wouldn’t want to play with Dame Lillard, first of all,” Love responded. “Dame, he’s special. He’s amazing. I claim Portland when they ask me where I’m from. It’s where I spent all of my formative years. I grew up in Portland. When people ask where I was born, obviously I say L.A. But Portland is always going to be a special place in my heart.
“Whether it be at the end of my career, whether it be in six months, or whatever it may be, if I was wearing a Portland jersey, that’s special,” Love continued. “That’s playing at home.”
Love still has two years and $60MM+ left on his contract with the Cavaliers, which will make a trade challenging, especially for Portland — if they’re going to take on that sort of money, the Blazers will be targeting an impact player in his prime.
Still, after Love’s latest on-court display of frustration, speculation has increased that the 32-year-old and the Cavs could be headed for a divorce sooner rather than later, even if that means Cleveland negotiating a buyout or accepting pennies on the dollar in a trade. If Portland could sign the former fifth overall pick at a discount once he eventually reaches free agency, the idea of a union between the two sides seems much more viable.
While he figures to be the subject of trade rumors again this offseason, Love is on track to finish the 2020/21 season with the Cavs. He has averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per games in 21 contests (23.9 MPG) so far. Those numbers are all well below his career averages, as are his .404 FG% and .349 3PT%.