Kevin Love

Central Notes: Love, Middleton, Perkins, Pistons

Earlier tonight, we heard talk of the Cavaliers sending Kyle Korver to Philadelphia in exchange for Jerryd Bayless. While we wait to see if anything materializes in Cleveland, let’s take a look at some notes from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are not shopping Kevin Love, though he could be on the move if the right offer presents itself, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst mentions on the Lowe Post podcast. The scribe adds that Khris Middleton is in the same boat with the Bucks not deeming him untouchable nor looking to deal him.
  • Cleveland waived Kendrick Perkins to “do right” by the big man and allow him to pursue training camp deals, a source tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers signed Perkins on the final day of the 2017/18 regular season back when LeBron James was still on the roster. The team had hoped to use Perkins’ contract as part of an offseason trade.
  • The Pistons have added Tim Grgurich and Micah Nori as assistant coaches to Dwane Casey‘s staff, Ansar Khan of Mlive.com relays.
  • Alex Boeder of NBA.com examines what Brook Lopez will bring to the Bucks. Lopez should be able to help the team stretch the floor with his three-point shot, as over 40% of his shots from the field last came from behind the arc.
  • FIBA has banned Bucks center Thon Maker for three games in international play for his part in a brawl during a game in the Philippines earlier this month, according to an ESPN report. Maker said he disagreed with the decision in a written statement that was released on his Twitter account.

Cavaliers Notes: White, Doncic, Parker, Love

Okaro White has a chance to win a roster spot with the Cavaliers, but first he has to overcome the effects of a broken left foot he suffered in November, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. White’s foot has fully healed, but he is still struggling with the psychological aspects of the injury and admits he’s “babying” it.

“I just gotta get through,” said White, who is part of the Cavaliers’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League. “I’m old enough, I’m not young anymore, so I gotta get over it [mentally] and try to find a way to showcase my ability.”

White started four games for the Heat before the injury, but it wound up ending his season. He was shipped to the Hawks at the trade deadline, then signed with the Cavs in March, but never took the court for either team. The 25-year-old forward has a non-guaranteed $1,544,951 contract for 2018/19.

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers passed on an opportunity to trade up on draft night and snag Luka Doncic, Vardon reports in a separate story. A source tells Vardon that Cleveland had an offer from Atlanta that included the No. 3 pick and Kent Bazemore, who will make more than $18MM next season with a $19.27MM option for 2019/20. However, the Cavs wanted Collin Sexton and were confident they could get him at No. 8.
  • With LeBron James gone, the Cavaliers should take a gamble on Jabari Parker, according to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report. The second player taken in the 2014 draft, Parker could become a dynamic scorer and rebounder if he can fully bounce back from his second ACL surgery. Swartz suggests Cleveland should use its $8.6MM mid-level exception to offer Parker a two-year contract. That would give him $13.3MM more in guaranteed money than if he accepts his $4.3MM qualifying offer with the Bucks, and it would put him back on the open market in 2020 when he’ll only be 25. Swartz recommends a few other moves for the Cavs, including re-signing Rodney Hood, working out an extension with Larry Nance Jr., trying to trade veterans such as J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson and taking on unwanted contracts to stockpile draft picks.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com suggests several trades involving Kevin Love, listing the Trail Blazers, Heat, Lakers, Suns and Jazz as possible destinations.

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Lue, James, Zizic

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.

Central Notes: Stephenson, Love, Polinsky, Evans

The Pacers offered a better contract to swingman Lance Stephenson than he received from the Lakers, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said on Friday (Twitter link via Mark Monteith). Stephenson agreed to a one-year, $4.5MM deal from the Lakers. A phone call from LeBron James influenced Stephenson’s decision to choose L.A., Monteith adds. However, the Pacers declined Stephenson’s team option of $4.36MM prior to free agency, so it seems odd Pritchard then turned around and offered more in the open market.

In other news around the Central Division:

  • The Cavs don’t plan on tanking or trading their top remaining player Kevin Love, Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. GM Koby Altman said he’s intent on keeping the team competitive despite the loss of LeBron James“Kevin is an All-Star and you don’t get better by moving Kevin,” Altman said. “Kevin’s been incredible for us for four years and he wants to be here, and to me that’s a big part for guys that are here and the guys that we’re gonna acquire, is that they want to be here and be a part of this new chapter and culture that we’re creating.”
  • The Pistons have hired Nets executive Gregg Polinsky as their director of player personnel, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Pistons senior advisor Ed Stefanski and Polinsky worked together in Brooklyn, Wojnarowski adds. Polinsky had the same title with the Nets but his role will expand in Detroit. Pat Garrity and Andrew Loomis, who were assistant GMs under former team president Stan Van Gundy, will continue in their roles, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. The Pistons could bring in another assistant GM to focus on analytics, Beard adds.
  • Tyreke Evans is content with coming off the bench for the Pacers, Monteith writes for the team’s website. Evans joined the Pacers on a one-year, $12MM deal. Pritchard didn’t have to coax Evans into being a sixth man. “Not one bit,” he said. “We told him, ‘Here’s your role, does that interest you?’ He said, ‘Yes, I’m in.’ I think in his mind he’s going, ‘Boy, I’ve been scoring a lot of points and doing a lot of good stuff against starters, this is going to be fun.'”
  • Tim Grgurich is likely to join Dwane Casey’s coaching staff with the Pistons, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Grgurich, 76, has a long career as an NBA assistant and most recently was a consultant with the Bucks.

Central Notes: Bulls, Evans, Stefanski, Love

The Bulls could be in position to build the NBA’s next superteam, suggests Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago. Citing a report that Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving would like to team up, Walton notes that Chicago has the resources to make it happen. Both players could become free agents next summer, and the Bulls have a path to offer two near-max contracts.

By renouncing their rights to Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne and stretching Omer Asik‘s contract, Chicago can trim its payroll to $64.6MM. The Bulls could also improve their chances by trading for Butler or Irving this season, Walton notes. Getting Butler away from former Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau seems impossible, but Walton states that the Celtics may be tempted by an offer for Irving centered around Zach LaVine or Kris Dunn, whom Boston tried to trade up for when he was coming out of college.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers boosted their chances to be a top three team in the East by landing Tyreke Evans, writes Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star. The addition of Evans, along with Doug McDermott and rookie Aaron Holiday, gives Indiana far more firepower off the bench than it had this season, Doyel contends. One of eight players to average 19 points, five rebounds and five assists during the season, Evans is versatile enough to help the Pacers in a variety of ways.
  • Ed Stefanski has been maximizing his resources since taking over as senior adviser for the Pistons, notes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. In his brief time in the new role, Stefanski hired the reigning Coach of the Year in Dwane Casey, added Malik Rose to the front office, drafted two promising second-rounders in Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown, then added Jose Calderon and Glenn Robinson III in free agency.
  • Pistons guard Luke Kennard suffered a left knee strain during practice that will force him to miss summer league, the team tweeted. The decision to hold him out is most likely a precaution, Beard notes (Twitter link).
  • The Cavaliers remain focused on making the playoffs, even after the loss of LeBron James, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The team insists it will hang onto Kevin Love, the only All-Star remaining on the roster, and try to rebuild around him.

Cavaliers Open To Trading Kevin Love?

Multiple reports leading up to LeBron James‘ decision indicated that the Cavaliers planned to keep Kevin Love even if James left Cleveland. That’s still the franchise’s public stance, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. However, multiple sources from around the league insist that the Cavs are indeed open to moving Love, according to Lloyd.

Love, who has been with the Cavaliers since 2014, has averaged 17.1 PPG and 10.0 RPG in his four seasons in Cleveland. While those are strong numbers, they pale in comparison to the ones he posted in his previous four seasons as the focal point of Minnesota’s roster (23.5 PPG, 13.7 RPG).

Love is still just 29 years old, so it would be interesting to see what he can do on a Cavs squad that no longer features James — especially since the team has conveyed a desire to compete for the playoffs even without LeBron.

However, if the Cavs want to go younger in the post-LeBron era, Love – who has one guaranteed year left on his contract with a player option for 2019/20 – would represent their best veteran trade chip.

As Lloyd observes, it’s also worth noting that the Cavaliers’ 2019 first-round pick will be sent to Atlanta unless it falls in the top 10. With Love on the roster, that pick could easily fall between 11 and 30 and head to the Hawks, whereas a rebuilding Cavs club without Love would have a better chance of hanging onto it.

That Cavs pick, which is top-10 protected in both 2019 and 2020, would turn into a pair of second-round selections if it doesn’t convey in either of the next two years.

Cavs Plan To Keep Love If James Leaves

The Cavaliers do not plan to trade Kevin Love if they lose LeBron James in free agency this summer, according to Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Cleveland intends to remain a playoff contender rather than go through a total rebuild if James signs elsewhere once he becomes an unrestricted free agent on Sunday, Vardon continues. The caveat is that no one on the roster is untouchable should James decide to stay.

Love would end up being more of a focal point in Cleveland’s offensive scheme without James. Prior to being traded to the Cavaliers after James left the Heat to return to his hometown team in 2014, Love posted big numbers with the Timberwolves. He averaged 26.1 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 4.4 APG in his last season there in 2013/14.

Love has two years remaining on his contract, though the final year includes a player option. He’s due approximately $24.1MM next season and $25.6MM in 2019/20. Love averaged 17.6 PPG and 9.3 RPG last season but was forced to the sidelines for 23 games due to a broken hand.

The Cavaliers are also interested in re-signing free agent Jeff Green and could offer him their $5,291,918 taxpayer mid-level exception, Vardon adds. Green was a solid role player while making the veteran’s minimum last season, averaging 10.8 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 78 games.

Central Notes: Wade, Bucks, Casey, Lowe

The signing of Dwyane Wade just before the start of the season led to jealousy in the Cavaliers‘ locker room, according to Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert were most affected, with Smith fearing Wade would take his starting spot and Shumpert believing Wade would cut into his playing time. Wade did start briefly, before asking to be moved to a bench role. Injuries limited Shumpert to just 14 games before he was traded to the Kings in February.

Pluto outlines other problems with the Cavs’ roster, including Tristan Thompson‘s distractions with the Kardashian family and his notoriety on gossip websites, Kevin Love‘s panic attacks and a team meeting where he felt he was being attacked by Wade and Isaiah Thomas, and Jae Crowder‘s ineffectiveness without the structured offense he had under Brad Stevens in Boston.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks contemplated a pair of draft night trades before selecting Donte DiVincenzo at No. 17, reports Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated. They talked about swapping picks with the Pacers and moving down to No. 23, and discussed a deal with the Hawks involving the 19th and 30th selections. Atlanta, which planned to take Kevin Huerter with the 17th pick, ended negotiations when word that the Bucks were drafting DiVincenzo leaked on Twitter. The Hawks expected the Spurs to grab Lonnie Walker at No. 18 and were confident that Huerter would fall to them at No. 19. DiVincenzo was happy to wind up in Milwaukee, which he and his representatives had singled out as a preferred destination.
  • Developing young players will be a priority for new coach Dwane Casey in his first season with the Pistons, writes Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. The front office believes improvement from Stanley Johnson, Luke Kennard and Henry Ellenson is necessary for the team to return to the playoffs. “Three very talented young players,” Casey said at his introductory press conference this week. “That’s going to be on us, the coaching staff, to really draw as much of that as we can. The talent level on the roster is there. Getting it together and identifying how we’re going to play is very, very important. That’s the fun part of it because the talent base is there.”  The Pistons plan to experiment with Kennard as a point guard in summer league play, Ellis tweets.
  • After adding Bucks assistant Sean Sweeney to their coaching staff this week, the Pistons are now targeting Wizards assistant Sidney Lowe, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Cavaliers Not Actively Shopping Kevin Love

Despite previous reports indicating interest in a possible trade, the Cavaliers are not actively shopping All-Star forward Kevin Love heading into tomorrow’s NBA Draft, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN. McMenamin further writes that the Cavs also have interest in keeping Love on the roster moving forward regardless of whether LeBron James decides to stay in Cleveland.

Love, 29, averaged 17.6 points per game on 45.8 percent shooting during the 2017/18 regular season, but saw his numbers fall to 14.9 points per game on 39.2 percent shooting during the playoffs. Upon losing in the NBA Finals for a second consecutive season, Love spoke about the uncertainty surrounding his and James’ future with the Cavaliers.

“Obviously, I’d love to play with LeBron the rest of my career, but that will be a choice that he makes… (but) anything is possible. People have been saying (I’m leaving Cleveland) for the past four years. I knew that question would come. But I like to be here. I’ve always said that. Always wanted to win here.”

Love has two years left on his contract with just over $49.7MM in salary remaining, but he possesses a player option for the 2019/20 season.

Cavs Rumors: LeBron, Love, Trade Talks, Coaches

While LeBron James will have until June 29 to exercise or decline his 2018/19 player option, his final decision on his next team won’t happen quickly and figures to stretch into July, Adrian Wojnarowski said on Monday during a draft special on ESPN (Twitter link via Sagar Trika). If that’s the case, James seems more likely to opt out than to opt in next week, which would have an impact on which suitors are viable destinations, as I explained here.

Meanwhile, Wojnarowski also reports that the Cavaliers would like to package Kevin Love and the No. 8 pick for a star player on draft night, but that combo may not net the kind of star they’re seeking (Twitter link via Trika). As Wojnarowski observes, Love’s value isn’t at its peak and the Brooklyn first-rounder isn’t quite as strong as Cleveland had hoped, limiting the appeal of that package to some extent.

Let’s round up a few more Cavs notes and rumors…

  • The Cavaliers have talked to the Grizzlies on more than one occasion, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoop.net, who cautions that he doesn’t know the specifics of those discussions. Memphis is reportedly open to the idea of attaching Chandler Parsons‘ contract to the No. 4 pick in a trade, so it’s possible Cleveland has checked in on that possibility.
  • Echoing a Monday report, Amico confirms that the Cavaliers are expressing interest in Hornets point guard Kemba Walker and have kicked the tires on disgruntled Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.
  • Although Amico expects the Cavs to hang onto the No. 8 pick, a lot of teams are interested in trading up to that spot, including the Nets.
  • The Cavs have had discussions about potentially acquiring another late first-round pick “to help open up the possibilities,” a league source tells Amico.
  • The Cavs are parting ways with assistant coach Jim Boylan and player development coach Phil Handy, multiple league sources tell Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. By not renewing the contracts for Boylan and Handy, the Cavs are clearing the path to give Dan Geriot and Damon Jones larger roles on their coaching staff, per ESPN’s report. No longer employed in Cleveland, Handy may be a candidate to join Nick Nurse‘s Raptors staff, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.