We are nearing the first checkpoint of what is sure to be one of the craziest summers in the history of the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the NBA Draft less than 24 hours away, rumors and misdirection dominate most of the conversation.
But while the Cavs are looking to improve and make a pitch to convince LeBron James to stay, they reportedly are not actively shopping Kevin Love.
The Cavaliers are not actively shopping All-Star forward Kevin Love heading into Thursday’s NBA draft, multiple sources told ESPN on Wednesday. Furthermore, regardless of what decision LeBron James makes about his future in Cleveland, the Cavs have interest in keeping Love next season, sources said.
This report is interesting for a few reasons. First of all, with the few assets the team has it seems tough to envision making a pitch to keep LeBron without moving Kevin Love. The pick alone is likely not enough to net a All Star caliber talent. Even if Love is included along with the pick, if you trade that package for a player like CJ McCollum you’re still probably two All Stars or a superstar away from having a chance in June.
It also seems unlikely that there are that many players that are better than Love available on the trade market. While his numbers are down from Minnesota, he still is a nightly 20 and 10 threat that posted his most efficient offensive season of his career. While you can point to some players that are putting up better numbers, it’s unclear if that would continue to be the case alongside LeBron.
That being said, these thoughts are accepting this report at face value. The reality is that the league knows that the Cavs are still trying to make moves to keep LeBron and that Love and their draft pick are the only real assets with a chance to provide help.
In McMenamins report, he also advised that the Cavs are heading into Thursday with the intention of using and keeping their draft pick. By the team leaking that they are not desperate to move their only two assets, it’s probably safe to assume that this is a tactic to try and gain or maintain leverage in negotiations. Whether or not the Cavs believe that, or if the rest of the league believes that, remains to be seen.
If LeBron does leave in free agency, how the team handles Kevin Love will be interesting. Love has a player option after next season and the team could be at risk of letting him walk for nothing.
Love likely won’t have the same ability to play coy like LeBron, but if he is happy in Cleveland as the guy I think the team accommodating him wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Especially when you factor in the sacrifices he has made during his tenure with the team.