Kevin Love has a chance to raise his trade value by the February deadline, which may explain why the Cavaliers aren’t putting him on the market now, writes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. GM Koby Altman said this week that the organization “doesn’t get better” by moving Love, and a rival executive that Pluto talked to agrees.
With LeBron James gone, Love will become the new focus of the offense in Cleveland and he has a good chance to raise the numbers of 17.6PPG and 9.0 RPG that earned him an All-Star berth this season. He also stretches opposing defense, which will give Jordan Clarkson and rookie point guard Collin Sexton easier paths to the rim.
Love will make $24MM in the upcoming season, then has a $25.6MM salary for 2019/20 that he is expected to opt out of, so the Cavaliers will likely decide to trade him at some point. The unidentified executive says he could be very popular around the deadline, especially in the Eastern Conference, where teams will see a wide open field with James now a Laker.
There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:
- The Heat, Hornets, Trail Blazers and Raptors stand out as potential trade destinations for Love, according to Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype.
- Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue will meet with Lakers coach Luke Walton and associate head coach Brian Shaw to discuss the experience of coaching James, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. “I’ll just tell them LeBron’s easy,” Lue said. “People get this whole thing built up like he’s hard to coach. It’s not. LeBron’s not the problem. It’s the outside tension that’s the problem. Just put added pressure immediately on the coaches, on his teammates. Now everything you do is under a microscope. … So it’s going to be a totally different change for the Lakers. They’ll be able to handle it.” Lue adds that he spoke to James a number of times while he was making his free agency decision, but never pressed him to stay in Cleveland.
- Pluto examines James’ legacy with the Cavaliers in a separate story. Through all he has accomplished, the enduring memory for James may be bringing an NBA championship to Cleveland. “Only people who are from there understand what that title meant,” said former Cavs coach Mike Brown. “To LeBron, I bet it’s worth more than all his MVP awards [four] and his other titles [in Miami] combined.”
- Ante Zizic, an overlooked part of the Kyrie Irving trade, has been putting up huge numbers in the Las Vegas Summer League, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. He posted 25 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s loss to the Bulls.