Cleveland Cavaliers veteran Kevin Love has long been rumored to be on the move.
With the Cavaliers amid yet another rebuild, it makes little sense for Cleveland to roster the soon to be 33-year-old Love.
Shortly after, the Cavaliers inked center Jarrett Allen to a five-year, $100 million contract.
These moves signaled the direction Cleveland’s rebuild will travel, and Love, despite two years and $60 million remaining on his current contract, seems headed out the door.
The Cavs have already spoken to Kevin Love about minutes and his role moving forward, a source tells @ByJasonLloyd.
“The kids need to play. And they will."
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) August 5, 2021
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Although Love’s contract runs for another two full seasons, it’s not out of the question that Cleveland buys him out of the deal.
A rare two-year buy-out happened last season, with the Detroit Pistons getting off Blake Griffin‘s deal.
Griffin, in turn, signed with a contender, the Brooklyn Nets, in hopes of securing an NBA championship.
A similar scenario could happen with Love and the Cavaliers.
The 13-year veteran doesn’t fit the new timeline for Cleveland, and the $60 million remaining on his contract makes him difficult to move.
Couple the contract with recent injury history, including the right calf strain that caused him to bow out of Olympic competition this summer, and Love seems unlikely to be traded without the Cavaliers attaching some significant asset.
This sets the stage for either a pre-season or in-season buy-out of the five-time All-Star.
Enter the Los Angeles Lakers.
Los Angeles reshaped its roster to maximize the championship window of LeBron James.
The Lakers added Russell Westbrook and a bevy of talented, albeit older veterans for another run at the NBA Finals.
Love would fit right in with that squad in terms of age and ability.
His addition to the Lakers would solidify front court depth that looks thin in the wake of the Westbrook trade and free agency.
There’s history here, too.
Love helped James win a championship while the two played together for four years in Cleveland.
Love also played with Westbrook while at UCLA.
Signing Love would provide Los Angeles with another big man to stretch the floor for James and Westbrook.
Love’s ability to shoot and rebound would be an upgrade to what might be a limited frontcourt rotation.
1. Portland Trail Blazers
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) March 25, 2015
The Portland Trail Blazers are seeking ways to appease their star, Damian Lillard.
Bringing in Love, who grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon, could placate Lillard for the time being, considering Love’s pedigree as a five-time All-Star and NBA champion.
What concerns many with Love, however, is his recent injury history.
A strained right calf kept him out of the Olympic Games this summer, following an NBA season where Love missed 46 games.
Over the 25 contests he did play last season, Love averaged 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
Adding Love to this Blazers squad would afford Portland with another facilitator on offense.
Love remains adept at passing, and offensive sets could flow through him at the elbow.
Although not a great defender by any stretch at this point, Love’s ability to rebound and shoot from the perimeter would make him a valuable addition to the bench.
Love could play as a backup center, adding a stretch element to those lineups that often lack scoring punch without Lillard on the floor.