Kevin Love

Kevin Love Expected To Withdraw From World Cup; Kyle Lowry To Remain

Kevin Love is expected to be the next NBA star to pull his name out of consideration for the FIBA World Cup, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Kyle Lowry remains committed to play despite recent thumb surgery, Charania adds. Lowry is still recovering from the procedure to repair a tendon injury, but he is expected to be ready for action midway through training camp.

Love battled his own injuries last season, being limited to 22 games because of toe surgery. He remained at his normal level when he played, averaging 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds for the season.

Love would be the eighth Team USA player to decide against participating in the World Cup since the original list of invitees was announced. Damian Lillard and DeMar DeRozan both announced yesterday that they won’t be part of the team, joining Anthony Davis, James HardenBradley BealCJ McCollum and Eric Gordon

Charania notes that their absence will provide greater opportunity for young players such as Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma and Myles Turner, along with lower-profile veterans like Lowry, P.J. Tucker and Thaddeus Young (Twitter link).

A source tells Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News that there’s “no question” Kuzma will participate in the camp (Twitter link).

Harris Withdraws From Team USA This Summer

Add Tobias Harris‘ name to the growing list of USA Basketball players pulling out of consideration for this year’s FIBA World Cup. Harris, who re-signed with the Sixers for five years and $180MM this summer, has decided to focus on the upcoming NBA season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Anthony Davis, James Harden, Bradley Beal, CJ McCollum and Eric Gordon have also withdrawn from Team USA participation this summer, starting with training camp in Las Vegas early next month. Two other players, Damian Lillard and Kevin Love, are also undecided and will announce their decisions in the next few days, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports.

Team USA will bring 12 players to the FIBA tournament. Among the players under consideration to replace the stars who have withdrawn, according to Vardon, include Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, D’Angelo Russell, Mike ConleyJosh Richardson, Thaddeus Young and Julius Randle. Select Team members could also be considered for the final 12-man roster, including Trae Young, Vardon adds. Top pick Zion Williamson has withdrawn from the Select Team this summer.

The original list of 20 invitees to the USA Basketball camp can be found here.

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Smith, Iguodala, Bolden

The Cavaliers aren’t making an effort to deal Kevin Love, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. On the surface, Love appears to be a prime trade candidate. He’s nearly 31 on a rebuilding team, is coming off toe surgery that limited him to 22 games last season and has a four-year, $120MM extension that’s about to kick in.

However, Cleveland doesn’t view Love’s contract as burdensome. A five-time All-Star, he’s easily the team’s best player if he can stay healthy and provides a positive role model for a young roster. New coach John Beilein wants to keep Love around because he’ll take pressure off his teammates to develop quickly.

Cavs management will listen to offers for Love, but it would take a formidable deal to move him anytime soon. Fedor sees the Heat as a possibility because they are searching for a second star to team with Jimmy Butler and have both young players such as Tyler Herro, Meyers Leonard, Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow who would interest Cleveland, plus big contracts in James Johnson, Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters to help match Love’s $28.9MM salary. Fedor expects the front office to hold onto Love for a while and reassess its options closer to the trade deadline.

There’s more out of Cleveland, all courtesy of Fedor:

  • Tomorrow is the new guarantee date for J.R. Smith, but it can be pushed back to August 1 if the Cavs can’t work out a trade. The original date had been June 30, but Smith agreed to an extension last month in exchange for an increase in guaranteed money from $3.9MM to $4.37MM. Smith’s trade value can be counted at the full $15.68MM because he signed his contract before that rule was changed, but Cleveland hasn’t been able to find any takers for the 33-year-old guard. Management has been surprised by the lack of interest in Smith, Fedor adds, believing its offers in salary-dump situations were better than the ones that were accepted. The Cavs have also been “shocked” by some of the bad contracts teams are trying to get them to take.
  • The Cavaliers tried to obtain Andre Iguodala from the Warriors, and sources tell Fedor they asked for less than the future first-rounder and cash that Memphis received for taking on Iguodala’s $17.1MM contract. However, Golden State wanted to create a large trade exception and saw that as more valuable than the cap relief Smith would have provided. Cleveland was also involved in talks to facilitate the Butler trade by taking Maurice Harkless from the Trail Blazers, but he wound up with the Clippers, who received a 2023 first-rounder from Miami.
  • Former Duke big man Marques Bolden is receiving strong consideration for a two-way contract. The Cavaliers believe he never got a full chance to display his talents in college and can develop into an effective NBA center. “In college you don’t have space,” said Summer League head coach Antonio Lang. “Here you have space and he can create space if he continues to roll hard. Everything you look for in a big he has, he just has to be more efficient with his footwork and learn the game more. That comes with practice and time. He’s more suited for the NBA game.”

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Smith, Nwaba

There’s a belief within the league that the Cavaliers will receive trade inquiries for Kevin Love this offseason, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes.

“Yes, one of the big-market teams that fail to land a big fish are going to make an offer for Kevin,” an executive told Vardon. Another source said that if Love was a free agent this summer and coming off of an injury-free year, he would be in line for a massive deal.

“He would get four years and $120MM in this marketplace,” the other executive said. “I mean, Al Horford might get a similar deal.”

Love will make slightly under $29MM during the 2019/20 season and has approximately $91MM on his deal in the ensuing three years. The opinion that Love’s contract allows him to be a positive asset isn’t unanimous throughout the league.

“His contract is hard to digest unless he’s clearly the missing piece,” a separate league executive told Vardon.

Love has been the subject of trade rumors ever since the Cavaliers acquired him during the 2014 offseason. He signed an extension with the club last offseason and the team has resisted trade overtures. GM Koby Altman won’t deal Love unless the return makes the Cavs a better squad, and Vardon writes that it’s unlikely that the kind of deal that Altman is looking for will surface.

Here’s more from Cleveland:

  • Trading J.R. Smith appears unlikely at this point, Vardon adds in the same piece. The team will need to waive him by June 30 to avoid paying his full contract. Only $3.9MM of his deal is guaranteed for next season.
  • Vardon (same piece) hears that the Cavs are likely to do David Nwaba “a favor” by not tendering him a qualifying offer, thus allowing him to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.
  • Free agency in Cleveland should be quiet with the franchise currently over the salary cap, Vardon explains. It’s unlikely the team uses a “significant” portion of its mid-level exception or the trade exception the franchise netted when it dealt away Rodney Hood this past season.
  • While cutting Smith loose will get the Cavaliers below the luxury tax threshold, it’s unlikely the team will consider going back over that line to fill their last couple open roster spots. Vardon expects Cleveland to fill those spots with minimum salary players.

Cavaliers Notes: Garland, Love, Blossomgame, Mitrou-Long

Darius Garland won over Cavaliers management with an impressive shooting performance in a workout last week, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The Cavs sent a sizable contingent to Los Angeles to watch Garland in his first pre-draft session. He didn’t disappoint, sinking shots from all over the court and reportedly going five or six minutes without missing.

“We saw him take 30-footers and flick them like it was nothing,” general manager Koby Altman said.

The Cavaliers had been hoping to draft De’Andre Hunter, but didn’t have the resources to trade up to No. 4. They also liked Jarrett Culver, but Garland changed their minds with his shooting display. Vardon reports that new coach John Beilein was seen cheering on the Vanderbilt guard as he hit one shot after another.

“It was like, ‘OK, how could this work out?’” Altman said. “We started to get fascinated with the idea.”

There’s more Cavaliers news to pass along:

  • Cleveland is talking to teams interested in Kevin Love, but hasn’t made any progress toward a trade, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during an appearance this week on WKNR in Cleveland (hat tip to Joseph Zucker of Bleacher Report). “It’s hard to find the right deal for him,” said Windhorst, who put the odds of a trade at 50-50. He noted it would be easy to find a taker for Love if the Cavs just wanted to unload the four years and $120MM left on his contract, but because he’s one of their few tradable assets they want to get something of value in return.
  • The Cavaliers won’t extend a qualifying offer to two-way player Jaron Blossomgame, tweets Cleveland-based basketball writer Chris Manning. The 25-year-old small forward signed with the Cavs in December and played 27 games at the NBA level, averaging 4.2 PPG. He posted an 18.5/7.5/2.2 line in 35 G League contests. He will be an unrestricted free agent.
  • Naz Mitrou-Long, who had a two-way contract with the Jazz this season, will join the Cavaliers for Summer League, a source tells Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News (Twitter link). The 25-year-old shooting guard got into 14 games for Utah, averaging 6 minutes per night.

Team USA Announces 20-Player Camp Roster For World Cup

USA Basketball has officially announced the group of 20 players that will participate in training camp this summer in advance of the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The camp will take place from August 5-9, and will be used to select the 12-man roster for this year’s World Cup in China.

The 20-man training camp roster is as follows:

  1. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  2. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  3. Anthony Davis (Pelicans)
  4. Andre Drummond (Pistons)
  5. Eric Gordon (Rockets)
  6. James Harden (Rockets)
  7. Tobias Harris (Sixers / FA)
  8. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  9. Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers)
  10. Brook Lopez (Bucks / FA)
  11. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  12. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  13. CJ McCollum (Trail Blazers)
  14. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  15. Paul Millsap (Nuggets)
  16. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  17. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  18. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  19. P.J. Tucker (Rockets)
  20. Kemba Walker (Hornets / FA)

“I am excited about getting to training camp in August and working with all of the players that have been selected to attend the USA National Team training camp in Las Vegas,” Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich said in a statement. “We’ve got an excellent cross-section of veteran USA Basketball and NBA players, as well as some exciting younger players who possess amazing versatility.

“I’m appreciative of commitment that our National Team players continue to make, and the eagerness of the new players to become involved,” Popovich continued. “Selecting a 12-man team will be extremely difficult.”

It will be an eventful summer for many of the players on the 20-man Team USA training camp roster. Besides Harris, Lopez, and Walker, who are all headed for unrestricted free agency and could be on new teams by August, players like Barnes, Middleton, and Millsap could reach the open market if their player or team options are declined. Others – including Davis, Gordon, Kuzma, Tatum, and Tucker – have been mentioned in trade rumors.

Kuzma and Mitchell are the only players on the roster who haven’t played internationally for Team USA in the past. Five player on the roster (Barnes, Davis, Harden, Love, and Lowry) have won gold medals for USA Basketball at the 2012 or 2016 Olympics, while two others (Drummond and Gordon) have taken home gold at previous World Cups.

Previous reports indicated that Zion Williamson, John Collins, and Marvin Bagley are expected to be among the players named to a 10-man select team that will scrimmage with Team USA’s 20-man roster at the training camp in August.

More Names Revealed For Team USA World Cup Tryouts

Team USA’s training camp roster for the FIBA World Cup will be announced next week, but four players have already been confirmed, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Anthony Davis, James Harden, Donovan Mitchell and Kemba Walker will definitely be part of the team, while the other 14 slots are still being worked out. The roster will be trimmed to 12 when the players gather in Las Vegas in early August to prepare for the tournament, which takes place from August 31 to September 15 in China.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski drops a few more names in a full story on the World Cup tryouts, which sources tell him are also expected to include Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Bradley Beal and Kevin Love. Others planning to be part of the camp include Eric Gordon, Jayson Tatum, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Drummond and Kyle Kuzma.

P.J. Tucker will attend training camp as well, tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, and league sources tell Woj that Paul Millsap also plans to be there. Other names leaked for the camp are Tobias Harris (Twitter link from Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer) and Myles Turner (Twitter link from Scott Agness of the Athletic).

Zion Williamson, expected to be the first pick in the draft later this month, has been invited to camp as part of the 10-man select team that will scrimmage against the 18-man roster, Stein tweets. Williamson will be given a chance to play his way onto the final roster if he has a standout performance in that role, according to USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo (Twitter link).

The select team will also include John Collins and Marvin Bagley, tweets Tim Bomtemps of ESPN.

The camp will be held from August 5-8, with exhibition games to follow before the start of World Cup play. Gregg Popovich will serve as head coach.

Central Notes: Love, Clarkson, Pacers, Brown

The Cavaliers continue to view Kevin Love as an important part of their rotation and are unlikely to make him available in trade talks this summer, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. In addition to his on-court production, Cavs management likes having the five-time All-Star around as a veteran leader as the team continues to rebuild after losing LeBron James.

Cavaliers Notes: Barrett, Gilbert, Shunnar, Love

The Cavaliers believe R.J. Barrett might be the leading scorer among next year’s rookies, but the prospect of trading up to the No. 3 pick would be difficult, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. A front office representative told Fedor that the Cavs put Barrett on the same level as Ja Morant, who is expected to be selected second, with a clear drop-off in talent after the top three.

The main obstacle to moving up, according to Fedor, is the Knicks’ potential asking price. The Mavericks executed the exact same scenario last season, moving from No. 5 to No. 3, and had to give up this year’s first-rounder to Atlanta. New York’s desire to deal the pick is unclear because the Knicks are counting on hitting the jackpot in free agency, which won’t begin until 10 days after the draft.

Cleveland already has a top-10 protected first-rounder headed to Atlanta next year from the Kyle Korver trade, so the Cavs won’t be able to offer a first-round pick prior to 2022’s selection in any deal.

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • Owner Dan Gilbert is willing to pay the luxury tax to help the team improve, Fedor adds in the same piece. GM Koby Altman has received approval to enter tax territory if necessary, and the Cavs displayed a willingness to add salary this season, taking unwanted contracts from the Bucks and Rockets to get extra draft assets. Cleveland is looking at cap relief after the 2019/20 season, with only $42MM currently committed.
  • Michigan graduate manager Jay Shunnar could be the next addition to the Cavaliers’ staff, Fedor adds. At 28, Shunnar may be too young to become an assistant coach, but Fedor states that John Beilein values his input and might give him some other job in the organization. A source tells Fedor that Wolverines assistant Luke Yaklich is unlikely to join the Cavs.
  • One season into his four-year, $120MM contract, Kevin Love is unlikely to be traded this summer, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider account). Marks believes Love’s contract is still an issue because he wouldn’t get a similar deal if he were on the free agent market. Also, Cleveland isn’t in line to compete for the top players in free agency, so there’s not much value in unloading Love’s salary. After missing 105 games in the past three seasons, Love has to prove he can stay healthy before teams start to show interest.

Central Notes: Bledsoe, Pachulia, Love, Bucks

The final year of Eric Bledsoe’s $70MM contract extension with the Bucks has a $3.9MM partial guarantee in the final season, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The extension became official on Monday.

Bledsoe’s $19.375MM salary that season would be fully guaranteed if he’s on the roster beyond June 30, 2022, Charania adds. The cap hits for the first three years of the extension are $15.62MM, $16.87MM and $18.12MM, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Bledsoe, who is not eligible to be traded until September 4, will rank 13th in salary next season among point guards around the league, and that doesn’t include impending free agents Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving and D’Angelo Russell, Marks adds.

We have more news from around the Central Division:

  • Pistons reserve center Zaza Pachulia has been fined $25K by the league for confronting and verbally abusing a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner upon being ejected, according to an NBA press release. Pachulia was tossed against Toronto in the second quarter on Sunday after arguing a no-call and getting assessed two technicals.
  • Kevin Love has no regrets about signing an extension with the Cavaliers this summer but he wishes he could have been a bigger part of their season, as he explained to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.  Love missed a chunk of the season after undergoing foot surgery and the Cavaliers soon went in rebuild mode. “There have been some bright spots in terms of younger guys getting better,” he said. “But it’s been tough, especially stepping into a leadership role and then you’re not out there for three months.” Love also weighed in on the Zion Williamson situation, saying the Duke star and likely No. 1 overall pick shouldn’t return this season from his knee sprain, “If I were him, I’d probably say, especially after a scare like this, I’d heavily consider telling the NCAA to pay us or else shutting it down and doing what’s best for his family,” Love said. “That kid is really an exceptional talent … I would lean toward not coming back.”
  • Bucks GM Jon Horst deserves more credit for the team’s success, Matt John of Basketball Insiders argues. Trades and free agent signings that brought in Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova, Brook Lopez and Nikola Mirotic greased the skids for Milwaukee’s rise to the top of the Eastern Conference. Horst also made other moves that improve the team’s salary-cap flexibility going forward, John adds.