Kevin Love

Cavs Rumors: Simmons, Love, Frontcourt, Valentine, Mathews, Windler

The Cavaliers, who have been mentioned throughout the summer as a possible Ben Simmons suitor, continue to have interest in landing the Sixers star, writes Marc Stein of Substack.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com mentioned Cleveland’s pursuit of the three time All-Star today as well, adding that the Cavs could enter the fray as a third team in a Simmons trade in order to acquire either Simmons or a different asset, like they did in the James Harden trade to acquire Jarrett Allen (Taurean Prince was also acquired by the Cavs in the Harden deal, and was recently traded to the Timberwolves for Ricky Rubio).

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers continue to be in a tough spot with Kevin Love, Fedor notes. Love played just 25 games last season and his impact on the court has diminished over the course of his contract, which still has two years and $60MM remaining. Such a hefty sum will make it difficult to trade Love without attaching assets, which doesn’t interest the Cavs unless they feel the situation becomes untenable. Fedor adds that the previously rumored buyout talks went nowhere, which means the team and player are stuck with each other — for now.
  • Evan Mobley is the presumed starting power forward for the Cavs, with $100MM man Allen slotting in at center, Fedor opines, which would make newly-acquired Lauri Markkanen the team’s de facto sixth man. How coach J.B. Bickerstaff manages the frontcourt situation is worth monitoring for a number of reasons, particularly because Markkanen was disappointed about coming off the bench for the Bulls last season, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. According to Fedor, the Cavs have talked about having Mobley, Allen, and Markkanen each playing about 26-30 minutes per night.
  • The Cavs continue to look for wing depth and shooting, Fedor notes, which is crucial to the team’s offensive development. The Cavs were one of the worst shooting teams in the league last season, ranking 25th in FG%, 26th in FT%, 29th in 3PT made, 28th 3PT attempts, and 30th in 3PT%. Sources tell Fedor that Denzel Valentine is interested in Cleveland and that Garrison Mathews could be another possible target.
  • Dylan Windler, who underwent surgery in April on his left knee, isn’t a lock to be ready for the start of training camp, says Fedor.

Kevin Love Uninterested In Buyout

Kevin Love is uninterested in a buyout with the Cavaliers at this point, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

There have been no talks with Cleveland on a buyout, nor is there any interest from Kevin in doing a buyout,” Love’s agent Jeff Schwartz told Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski writes that Love remains open to a trade, and that the Cavs have explored the market for him periodically, but have yet to find a deal to their liking.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com tweets that any buyout discussions will have to be initiated by Love, who would have to give up a significant portion of his remaining salary, which is currently $60.2MM over the next two seasons.

Love has only played in 103 games over the last three seasons, though he’s still been productive on the offensive end in that time, averaging 16.2 PPG, 9.4 RPG and 2.8 APG while shooting nearly 37% from three. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, will be paying Jarrett Allen and Lauri Markkanen (deal still pending) a combined $35MM+ this season, while also trying to develop number three overall pick Evan Mobley, which will likely leave Love on the outside of the rotation.

Love is thought to have interest from teams, including contenders, should he reach free agency, but it’s unlikely the Cavs will be able to trade him outright without sacrificing assets to do so.

Central Notes: Nance Jr., Markkanen, Love, Theis, Allen

Larry Nance Jr. wasn’t surprised that the Cavaliers agreed to trade him in the unofficial three-team deal that will bring Lauri Markkanen to Cleveland, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Nance was concerned about his role and playing time with the addition of lottery pick Evan Mobley. Cleveland’s front office had discussed the possibility of moving him to a contender where he might have a bigger role.

He’s happy that he’s going to the Trail Blazers, where he’ll play with Damian Lillard and close friend CJ McCollum. If the Blazers eventually go into rebuild mode, Nance can leave as an unrestricted free agent during the summer of 2o23, Fedor adds.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • In the same story, Fedor writes that the Cavs tried hard to trade for a wing shooter, dangling Nance, their 2022 first-round pick and, in some instances, a package of second-rounders. The Cavs couldn’t find the right deal and eventually turned their attention to a stretch four in Markkanen, who they hope can provide an offensive jolt.
  • The Cavaliers are denying they’re engaged in buyout talks with Kevin Love, according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. A source told Pluto that progress was being made toward a buyout, which makes sense for both parties, the writer notes.
  • The Bulls received $1.1MM from the Rockets in the Daniel Theis sign-and-trade, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report tweets. The deal also generated a $5MM traded player exception.
  • The Bucks received $1MM from the Grizzlies in the Grayson Allen deal, Pincus adds in another tweet. Memphis acquired Sam Merrill and two second-round picks.

Nets Have Interest In Hartenstein, Love

The Nets are interested in signing free agent center Isaiah Hartenstein and would also be interested in Kevin Love if the Cavaliers buy him out, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

Hartenstein became an unrestricted free agent when he declined a minimum-salary player option and the Cavaliers subsequently didn’t submit a qualifying offer to him. He was traded last season by Denver to Cleveland, where he averaged 8.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 1.2 BPG in 17.9 MPG.

The Nets and Cavs were among the teams who watched Hartenstein work out in Las Vegas this month.

Love and the Cavs have reportedly made some progress toward a buyout, but are not close to finalizing an agreement.

In any instance, Brooklyn would need to open up a roster spot to fit in Hartenstein and/or Love. The most likely candidate to go is center DeAndre Jordan, who could be bought out, waived, or possibly traded if the Nets are willing to attach an asset. Forward Alize Johnson, who has a non-guaranteed deal, is another possibility. The date for a partial guarantee of $200K on Johnson’s contract has been pushed back from September 4 to October 19, when the regular season begins, according to Lewis.

Cavs, Kevin Love Making Progress In Buyout Talks?

With the Cavaliers making a bold move to acquire Bulls restricted free agent forward Lauri Markkanen via a sign-and-trade, Kevin Love‘s career in Cleveland may be coming to an end.

The Cavs are making progress toward a buyout agreement with Love, a source tells Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Love has two years and $60MM remaining on the four-year, $120.4MM extension that kicked in during the 2019/20 campaign. However, the talks could still fall apart and it’s not close to a done deal, Pluto cautions, adding that other sources have denied the two sides have made any serious progress.

With the pending addition of Markkanen to join re-signed center Jarrett Allen and lottery pick Evan Mobley, Love wouldn’t appear to have a clear rotation spot on a rebuilding club intent on going younger.

Love’s career has been marred by injuries in recent years, including a right calf strain last season that limited him to 25 games.

Love received an invitation to join Team USA prior to the Olympics but he was reportedly out of shape and departed the squad before it headed to Tokyo.

If the talks succeed, Love would be free to hook on with a contender looking to fortify its frontcourt depth.

Cavaliers Notes: Mobley, Rubio, Allen, Schedule

Evan Mobley appears to be the best candidate to start at power forward when the Cavaliers open their season, writes Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. The No. 3 pick in this year’s draft showed during Summer League that he’s mobile enough to handle the power forward duties. The coaching staff is reluctant to use Mobley extensively at center until he adds more muscle, so he’ll probably play alongside Jarrett Allen, giving the team two seven-foot rim protectors on defense.

If Mobley is named the starter, that will mean bench roles for veterans Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. The Cavaliers have already spoken to Love about reducing his time on the court, and he talked last month about no longer being the No. 1 option who plays 35 minutes per night. Russo notes that Love, who still has two years and more than $60MM left on his contract, can still be valuable as a floor-spacer and rebounder.

Nance is coming off an injury-plagued season, but he started 27 of the 35 games he appeared in and averaged a career-high 31.2 minutes per night. He’s useful as a big man who can pass and defend, and he provides a veteran on-court presence for a very young team. Nance is also under contract for two more seasons, but only at a total of a little more than $20MM.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Newly-acquired Ricky Rubio will probably be used off the bench, as the starting backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland remains together, Russo adds. Rubio is expected to run the offense with the second unit and can defend either guard position.
  • Allen left a contending team when the Nets traded him to Cleveland in January, but he didn’t hesitate to re-sign with the Cavs this summer, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Allen’s new five-year, $100MM contract means he will be a long-term part of the rebuilding process. “Seeing a team like this, knowing what it takes, we have all the right guys and the right mindsets to do it,” he said. “So, I thought, ‘Hey, I’m willing to be part of this again, especially with these guys.’ I see a bright future here that I fit in perfectly.”
  • The new schedule that was announced Friday includes a tough early stretch that could set the tone for the Cavs’ entire season, Fedor notes in a separate story. Cleveland has one of the most difficult starts in the league, with eight of its first 11 games on the road and 11 of the first 12 against teams that were in the playoffs last season.

Eastern Notes: Love, Livers, Heat, D. Robinson, Drummond

After drafting Evan Mobley with the No. 3 overall pick and agreeing to re-sign Jarrett Allen to a five-year, $100MM contract, the Cavaliers appear to have locked up their frontcourt of the future, prompting Jason Lloyd of The Athletic to suggest that if Kevin Love is going to remain in Cleveland, he should be prepared to accept a role off the bench.

According to Lloyd, the Cavaliers have already spoken to Love about his minutes and role moving forward. The first step will be getting the veteran power forward healthy following the calf strain that has nagged him for much of the year, but even if that calf injury is no longer an issue in the fall, Cleveland will have to closely manage Love’s minutes, writes Lloyd.

While a buyout could ultimately be in both sides’ best interests, those discussions have not yet taken place, according to Lloyd, who suggests Love would likely have to be willing to give back at least $12-15MM for the Cavs to consider buying him out. He’s owed just north of $60MM over the next two seasons.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Rookie Pistons forward Isaiah Livers, who was selected 42nd overall in last Thursday’s draft, continues to recover from the right foot surgery that ended his college career, but remains optimistic that he’ll be fully cleared around the start of the 2021/22 season, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “For five-on-five, I expect to be fully cleared, hopefully, at some point in October,” Livers said. As Beard observes, Detroit will likely play it safe with Livers and have him start the season with the Motor City Cruise in the G League.
  • Although the Heat might not get much out of Victor Oladipo in 2021/22, their minimum-salary agreement with the two-time All-Star will put them in good position to re-sign him next summer if he earns a raise, since they’ll hold his full Bird rights, as Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald details. Oladipo is recovering from surgery on his quad tendon and the Heat aren’t expecting him to be ready to return until sometime in 2022.
  • After agreeing to a five-year, $90MM deal with the Heat as a restricted free agent, sharpshooter Duncan Robinson said on The Long Shot podcast that he entered the week focused on getting a deal done with the only NBA team he has ever played for. “Miami ultimately, for me, felt like it was going to be the best situation because it was something I was really familiar with,” Robinson said, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I felt like I had built equity with an organization, the coaching staff, the front office, the fans even, the city.”
  • Despite their past squabbles on and off the court, new Sixers center Andre Drummond doesn’t anticipate teaming up with Joel Embiid will be an issue, he told reporters today. For me, there was never any real beef,” Drummond said (Twitter link via Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com). “The way we play, sometimes we talk. I don’t think it goes any further than that. … We’re on the same team now.”

And-Ones: Colangelo, Love, Irving, 2022 Draft, Bleijenbergh

Jerry Colangelo, managing director of USA Basketball, admitted that adding Cavaliers big man Kevin Love to the 12-man roster was a mistake, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports. Speaking to reporters this week, Colangelo was blunt in his assessment of Love, stating that the 2012 gold medalist was not in shape when he showed up to camp. Love eventually withdrew from Team USA before the squad headed to Tokyo.

“I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play. I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play,” Colangelo said. “He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us. And on the basis of that, we’re looking at someone with international experience who at one time was a heck of a rebounder and could still shoot the ball. You know, being like a 12th man on a roster. Well, it didn’t work out. He wasn’t in shape. And he was way behind as it turned out. So you move on. Call it a mistake.”

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Nets guard Kyrie Irving has fired Roc Nation as his representative, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. It’s unclear why Irving, who can opt out of his contract after next season, made the move. He did rip Nike on social media for its shoe design and marketing of the upcoming Kyrie8 brand.
  • Just hours after the completion of this year’s draft, Jonathan Givony of ESPN released his 2022 mock draft. Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren heads the list, followed by Duke’s Paolo Banchero and the G League Ignite’s Jaden Hardy.
  • Belgian guard Vrenz Bleijenbergh was a candidate to be a second-round pick, but went undrafted on Thursday. Bleijenbergh explained on Twitter that none of the teams interested in selecting him were willing to offer a guaranteed contract and thus, he couldn’t get out of his European deal. “I had multiple teams offering me two-way deals. But because of my contract in Europe, I wasn’t be able to sign them, it was against the rules,” he wrote. “The only option was a guaranteed contract, I didn’t receive it. It really hurts, I was really close.”

Central Notes: Love, Pistons, Pacers’ Staff, Sexton

Kevin Love‘s decision to withdraw from the Olympics raises more questions for the Cavaliers about his future, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Love is still bothered by the right calf strain that limited him to just 25 games this season, an alarming development for Cleveland, considering Love still has two years left on his contract. Rather than using his experience with Team USA as a springboard to a career revival, Love may be facing the prospect of seeing his career come to an abrupt end. The Cavs will soon have conversations with Love about his health issues, Fedor adds, though retirement has not been discussed or considered.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • While there has been plenty of speculation about whether the Pistons are sold on Cade Cunningham as the No. 1  pick, it’s in their best interests to keep their intentions secret, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. If GM Troy Weaver has any desire to trade the pick, it’s best the others come calling with increasingly better offers, rather than Weaver openly shopping it.
  • The Pacers officially announced in a press release that former Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, Ronald Nored, Mike Weinar and Jenny Boucek will be assistant coaches under Rick Carlisle. Pierce is currently an assistant with Team USA. Nored spent the past three seasons as an assistant with the Hornets, while Weinar spent 13 seasons with the Mavericks, four as an assistant coach. Boucek was also on Carlisle’s staff in Dallas the past three seasons.
  • Although the Cavaliers have made Collin Sexton “very available” according to a recent report, they’ve put a hefty price tag on him, Fedor writes in a separate story. The Knicks have had discussions with the Cavs about Sexton but they’re just one of many teams monitoring the situation, according to Fedor. Cleveland may ultimately be better off holding onto Sexton next season and not signing him to an extension, then allow him to become a restricted free agent next summer. In that scenario, another team can set the price tag for Sexton and Cleveland can choose whether or not to match it.

Kevin Love Won’t Play In Olympics

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has decided to withdraw from Team USA and won’t travel to Japan for the Olympics, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“I am incredibly disappointed to not be heading to Tokyo with Team USA, but you need to be at absolute peak performance to compete at the Olympic level and I am just not there yet,” Love said in a statement released by his agent, Jeff Schwartz (Twitter link).

Love’s concerns about his physical condition stem from a right calf injury that caused him to miss much of this past season. The 32-year-old played in just 25 of the Cavs’ 72 games.

He sat out Monday’s loss to Australia, but Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said afterward that it wasn’t because of injury, notes Joe Vardon of The Athletic (Twitter link). He notes that Love and the Cavaliers were hoping the Olympics experience would help him return to form next season.

Love didn’t see much playing time in the other two exhibition games and “struggled mightily” during training camp, Vardon adds (Twitter link).

Love’s announcement adds to the last-minute chaos for the U.S. team, which lost Bradley Beal on Thursday and saw Jerami Grant placed into health and safety protocols. Team USA officials were already working to fill one roster opening and now will have to address another one.