Kevin Love

Cavs Rumors: McConnell, Caruso, Hart, Love, Hartenstein

Length, athleticism, versatility, and shooting are the traits that the Cavaliers will be prioritizing as they consider potential roster moves this offseason, Chris Fedor writes in a mailbag for Cleveland.com. A secondary ball-handler will be at or near the top of Cleveland’s wish list, whether that player is a point guard or a play-making wing, Fedor adds.

The Cavaliers don’t project to have cap room this summer, but intend to be “aggressive” with their mid-level exception, which should be worth nearly $10MM. Free agent point guards T.J. McConnell and Alex Caruso will be among the team’s top targets, according to Fedor. Both will be unrestricted free agents and are tough defenders who could be attainable with the MLE.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • One of the free agents Fedor mentions as a possible target for Cleveland is Josh Hart. Fedor, who notes that Hart is one of Larry Nance Jr.‘s best friends, hears from sources that the Pelicans wing may be seeking a fresh start. However, Hart is eligible for restricted free agency, so the Pelicans will have the ability to retain him if they so choose.
  • Addressing the Kevin Love situation, Fedor says that some people in the front office view the idea of waiving and stretching Love’s remaining salary (two years, $60MM) as a non-starter. There have also been no buyout talks so far, according to Fedor, who gets the impression that the Cavs would only be open to going down that path if Love initiates those discussions and gives up enough salary to make it worthwhile.
  • Fedor confirms Michael Scotto’s report that Cavs big man Isaiah Hartenstein will likely turn down his player option in the hopes of signing a multiyear deal with Cleveland.
  • The 2021/22 season isn’t viewed as a “playoffs-or-bust” year by Cavs leadership, but everyone feels the team will need to show “discernible on-court progress and take a few steps forward” in the fourth year of its rebuild, says Fedor. In a separate article for Cleveland.com, Fedor suggests that historical precedents show the Cavs’ rebuild is on schedule.

Central Notes: Love, DiVincenzo, Pistons, Gottlieb

Kevin Love‘s season was marred by injury and declining production, but Cavaliers GM Koby Altman says the veteran forward is still part of the team’s plans, according to an ESPN report. Love appeared in just 25 games due to a calf injury.

“We want him to be here,” Altman said. “We signed him to an extension for that reason, to be here when we want to make that next step. And so we’re going to hopefully rely on him heavily next year after a significant summer.”

There are still two years and $60.2MM remaining on Love’s extension, which would make it difficult for Altman to trade him.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks have lost a key member of their backcourt, Donte DiVincenzo, due to a torn ligament in his left ankle. The Athletic’s Eric Nehm takes a look at which players might absorb DiVincenzo’s minutes. Bryn Forbes, Pat Connaughton and P.J. Tucker could pick up the slack offensively with Forbes moving into the starting lineup. But it will be difficult to replace DiVincenzo on the defensive end. Coach Mike Budenholzer may give more playing time to Jeff Teague, though he could also opt to slice his rotation to eight players.
  • Nearly half of the players on the Pistons’ roster could become free agents this summer. The Detroit News’ Rod Beard takes a look at who’s likely to stay and who will go.
  • Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb got a head coaching offer from USC that was too good financially for her to pass up, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com details. “I said, ʻI didn’t come to the NBA to turn right around. I’m really enjoying what I’m doing. I feel like I’m part of something,’” Gottlieb said of her initial reaction when USC came calling. “ʻHowever, I do feel I want to be a head coach again whether that’s men’s college basketball, women’s college basketball, the WNBA. I understand what USC can be and it’s intriguing to me to have a conversation. I got off the phone after 25 minutes and I didn’t feel too strong either way.” The school’s hard sell convinced her to take that job.

Central Notes: Pacers, Love, Sexton, LaVine

As we relayed on Thursday, Jake Fischer’s latest story for Bleacher Report features a number of eyebrow-raising details on Nate Bjorkgren‘s stint as the Pacers‘ head coach. However, while much of Fischer’s reporting lines up with what we’ve heard from other outlets, there has been some push-back on some aspects of the story.

For instance, Fischer initially suggested that T.J. Warren – who played under Bjorkgren in Phoenix – wasn’t consulted before Indiana made the hire and that Warren requested a trade after Bjorkgren came aboard. Fischer has since cited a source close to the situation who says Warren never formally requested a trade, and the story has been updated to say that there’s “a belief among several members of the Pacers organization” that Warren asked to be dealt.

J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star, meanwhile, tweets that the front office did ask Warren about Bjorkgren before hiring him and notes that Warren agreed to take a bigger leadership role with the team heading into the season.

Fischer also reported in his story that Bjorkgren’s acted like “a politician’s chief of staff” in Toronto when he was a Raptors assistant under Nick Nurse, sometimes preventing players and other coaches from holding conversations with Nurse if they didn’t go through him first. Asked on Thursday night about that, Nurse vehemently denied it and questioned the reporting, as Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Attaching an asset to trade Kevin Love isn’t something the Cavaliers want to do, and buying him out with two years and $60MM left on his contract would be difficult and pricey, but Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com contends the team should attempt this offseason to find the least painful way to move on from Love. Sources tell Fedor that the two sides have yet to discuss a potential buyout.
  • While Jason Lloyd of The Athletic believes the Cavaliers did well to nab Collin Sexton with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 draft, he doesn’t believe the third-year guard is worth a maximum-salary contract and suggests the team would be making a big mistake if it goes that high this offseason when Sexton becomes extension-eligible for the first time.
  • Zach LaVine, who returned to the Bulls‘ lineup on Thursday night after missing 11 games due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, told reporters this week that he had taken one of his two vaccine shots when he was diagnosed with COVID-19, and didn’t experience any major symptoms (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago).

Kevin Love: Eventually Playing For Blazers Would Be “Special”

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%.

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Sexton, Dellavedova, Varejão

Kevin Love‘s latest display of anger raises the question of why the Cavaliers are willing to be so patient with him when they won’t do the same for other players, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Frustrated with not getting a foul call in Monday’s game, Love swatted the ball away when a referee threw it to him for an inbounds pass. It bounced to a Raptors player and led to an open three-pointer in a lopsided loss. Love apologized for the incident, and the team handled it internally.

It’s the latest in a series of outbursts involving Love, whose behavior keeps getting overlooked by the organization, Vardon contends. It happened during the same week as a 50-point game by Kevin Porter Jr., who was traded to Houston after throwing food at the wall and screaming at general manager Koby Altman when his locker was given away. The Cavaliers stopped playing J.R. Smith and Andre Drummond under similar circumstances and eventually waived both players.

Cleveland has fewer options when it comes to Love, Vardon adds. He still has two years and $60MM left on the contract extension he signed as a show of loyalty after LeBron James left. It’s too expensive for other teams to consider a trade or for a buyout to be realistic. The front office promised Love that it would try to remain competitive when he signed the deal, Vardon notes, but the team quickly switched to rebuilding.

Love is 32, coming off a string of injuries and is posting the worst statistical season of his career, so he and the team may be stuck in an unpleasant situation for a while longer.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Vardon expects the Cavs to offer Collin Sexton a rookie scale extension this summer, despite the fact that it might not be in their best interest. Vardon doesn’t see a strong market for Sexton if he becomes a restricted free agent in 2022, even though he has developed into a reliable scorer. Sexton still tends to dominate the ball a lot, and the Cavs might be better off waiting another year to see if he and Darius Garland can be a successful backcourt, but Vardon believes they will give Sexton the extension to show Love and the other veteran players that the team has a plan that’s being followed.
  • Matthew Dellavedova is likely out for the rest of the season, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The veteran guard suffered a neck strain April 25 and hasn’t been with the team since. Dellavedova’s absence is part of why the Cavs hope to be granted a hardship exception to sign Anderson Varejão. The front office wants the 38-year-old big man to finish his NBA career in Cleveland, where he was a popular figure during his 12 years with the team.
  • The Cavaliers are focused on developing their young players as they wind down a disappointing, injury-filled season, Fedor adds in a separate story.

Kevin Love Discusses Inbounds Incident

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love had no malicious intent behind his inbounds play that resulted in an easy Raptors basket in the team’s 112-92 loss to Toronto on Monday, he told USA TODAY’s Mark Medina.

The incident occurred toward the end of the third quarter after Raptors big man Freddie Gillespie bumped into Love, who subsequently traveled into the basket stanchion. Love, upset about a non-call, angrily swatted at the ball when a referee threw it to him to inbound. Raptors forward Stanley Johnson stole Love’s spiked pass on the play, dishing to a trailing Malachi Flynn for three.

The Cavaliers handled the matter internally and Love apologized for his poor attitude, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

“Not to say too much that could get me fined, but it was the officiating,” Love told Medina. “When I snagged that ball, I didn’t realize it wasn’t even inbounds. I was a little thrown off. I was going to go grab it and throw back into passing the ball to DG (Darius Garland) and move on. I get the optics. That’s something I have to take on the chin and understand that was a very bad look.”

Love, a 13-year veteran, has two years and $60.2MM remaining in his deal after the season. He was a valuable floor-spacer and locker room voice in the team’s championship run just five years ago. However, he has expressed his frustration on the court multiple times in recent years,

“I never want that to be who I am,” Love told reporters on Wednesday, as relayed by Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “I don’t want to be here and defend my character. Everything I do comes from a good place. This isn’t woe is me. These guys ride with me. I apologized. We’ve moved on. We even talked about it today, but I mean I know the perception and the way people want to make this. Me being a leader for the team and I know I’m going to take that on the chin. I’m going to be a man and take it on the chin.”

The Cavaliers are just 21-40 with 11 games left on the schedule. The team ranks six games behind the Wizards for the No. 10 seed and has only seen Love play in 18 games this season due to injury.

Eastern Notes: Love, Hornets, Clifford, Bulls

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love apologized to his team after committing a turnover out of frustration during Monday night’s game that led to an easy Raptors three-pointer, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Love, who was upset about a non-call, angrily swatted at the ball when a referee threw it to him to inbound — that swat put the ball in play, where it was snatched up by Raptors forward Stanley Johnson, leading to a Malachi Flynn three (video link).

It was a childish outburst from a player who is ostensibly one of the Cavaliers’ veteran leaders, contends Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. According to Haynes, the club intends to handle the matter internally and may fine Love, though Jason Lloyd of The Athletic suggests a one-game suspension might be a more appropriate penalty.

Haynes writes that the incident – which isn’t the first time that the former All-Star has expressed frustration with his in-game actions – will lead to questions about whether Love’s time in Cleveland may come to an end this offseason, and Lloyd also wonders if the two sides should discuss parting ways. However, Love still has two years left on his contract after this season, and the $60MM in guaranteed money left on that deal will make it challenging for the Cavaliers to find a favorable trade.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

Central Notes: Teague, Cook, Love, Dellavedova, Williams

Even with the addition of Jeff Teague to fortify their backcourt, the Bucks still have a little breathing room under the luxury tax line, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. Marks calculates that Milwaukee is $737,439 below the tax after taking a $510,589 cap hit on Teague, who was signed this week. Teague was traded by Boston to Orlando and then waived. The Bucks still have another roster spot open, should they choose to add another player.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • It’s uncertain whether forward Tyler Cook will remain with the Pistons after his second 10-day contract expires next week but coach Dwane Casey likes what he’s seen, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. “He’s an interesting guy. I don’t know what we can do with him contractually, but I’d love to keep him around as much as we can. He’s one of those guys you want to keep in your program because he gives you everything,” Casey said. Cook, who signed his second 10-day on March 28, has averaged 3.4 and 3.3 RPG in 13.3 MPG in eight games with the Pistons.
  • The return of Kevin Love and Matthew Dellavedova from long-term injuries puts the Cavaliers in position for a final playoff run, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. “We don’t have much time left, but I do think that we can put together a great last however many games that we have and really make a push,” Love said. “Having Delly back, having myself back, actually being able to make an impact playing the game, there’s just nothing like that.”
  • With the addition of Nikola Vucevic, rookie Patrick Williams is now starting at small forward for the Bulls. Williams hasn’t seen his role change dramatically, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times“The people I guard are pretty much the same,’’ Williams said. “Even when I was [at power forward], I was guarding some threes and some twos, so nothing really changes. In our offense, coach [Billy Donovan] does a really good job of making sure the wing positions are pretty much interchangeable.’’

Dellavedova Available For First Time This Season

Veteran Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova, a longtime fan favorite who was a key role player on the 2016 title-winning team led by superstars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, is available to return to action for Cleveland for the first time in the 2020/21 season tonight, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers will host the Sixers, the No. 2 seed in the East.

Earlier today, we relayed that a Dellavedova return tonight was looking like a possibility.

Dellavedova has been sidelined since December 12 following a major concussion. The reserve, who has a long history of concussions, was kept in protocols for an extended period of time. An emergency appendectomy on February 20 further delayed his return to game action.

“Our conversation, he just talked about how appreciative he was, how we’ve dealt with this and been patient in giving him this opportunity,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of Dellavedova’s return. “He loves the game of basketball, he throws his heart into it completely.”

The 6’3″ Dellavedova has spent parts of six NBA seasons in Cleveland. The 30-year-old holds career averages of 5.6 PPG, 3.7 APG and 1.8 RPG.

Fedor adds that former All-Star power forward/center Kevin Love, another member of that 2016 title team, will suit up for just his fifth game this season tonight as he recovers from a calf injury that has hampered him for most of the season. Kelsey Russo of The Athletic tweets that Love will start in the frontcourt tonight alongside Dean Wade.

Cavaliers Notes: Drummond, Allen, Love, Cook

The Cavaliers are still optimistic about an Andre Drummond trade before Thursday’s deadline, although they don’t expect much in return, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Drummond hasn’t played since February 12 while the Cavs searched for a trading partner, and he will be a strong buyout candidate if Cleveland can’t work out a deal.

The interest level in Drummond has always been high, Fedor adds, but his $28.7MM contract makes any deal complicated. Many teams would like to add the veteran center for a playoff run, but the players they would have to give up to match salaries are too good to part with.

Fedor states that general manager Koby Altman will need to be creative and suggests a multi-team deal is the only realistic way for Drummond to be traded. Cedi Osman or Taurean Prince could be offered to motivate other teams to get involved, according to Fedor.

Rival teams are becoming skeptical that Drummond will be traded, Fedor adds, but he says the idea that only a few teams will have a chance to sign him after a buyout works in Cleveland’s favor. The Knicks, Raptors, Bulls, Heat and Celtics probably couldn’t compete with the Lakers or Nets if Drummond becomes a free agent, so they may be willing to make modest trade offers. Fedor points to New York as the most likely team to trade for Drummond.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers should expect an offseason extension for Jarrett Allen to cost about $100MM, Fedor notes in the same story. Even though he will be a restricted free agent, Allen is expected to be one of the top players on the market this summer. Cleveland is committed to keeping him, Fedor adds, but will have to start his new contract at around $20MM per year.
  • Kevin Love has been offered up in trades for several months, but the Cavs haven’t found any takers, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. A calf injury that has sidelined Love for most of the season and a pricey contract that pays him more than $60MM over the next two years have limited the market for the veteran forward.
  • The Cavaliers are facing a decision on Quinn Cook, whose 10-day contract expires today. Cook has appeared in four games since signing with Cleveland, averaging 5.0 PPG in 12.8 minutes per night. He is eligible to sign another 10-day deal with the team.