Kevin Love, the Cleveland Cavaliers forward, could be moved before next season, despite Cavs GM David Griffin’s insistence that the reigning NBA champions will keep the band together.
Love has four years left on his $113 million contract and would prevent the Cavaliers from signing other marquee free agents in the coming offseasons. However, moving Love’s contract for a rookie contract would allow LeBron James to wear the hat of GM and recruit buddies Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade, who are both free agents next summer.
Last month, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reported that the Lakers are biding their time and waiting for an all-star caliber player to be made available via trade. Since they have approximately $8 million left in cap room, the Lakers wouldn’t need to move too many pieces to accommodate a max-level contract.
“The team has held off on signing Tarik Black, Marcelo Huertas and second-overall pick Brandon Ingram, keeping an eye on what could be $13.6 million in cap room (assuming the team also waives and stretched Nick Young). The Lakers do have an unnamed trade target in mind, but are also preserving space for another opportunistic Calderon-like deal,” Pincus had earlier reported.
Kevin Love: What can Lakers offer?
Since that report, the Lakers have signed both Black and Huertas. However, they are yet to sign Ingram, possibly in an effort to save nearly $1.5 in salary cap. It’s highly unlikely that the Lakers trade Ingram, a player they view as a franchise cornerstone going forward.
While Ingram and D’Angelo Russell are nearly untouchable, the Lakers would contemplate trading Julius Randle and/or Larry Nance Jr. to secure the services of Love.
According to ESPN’s trade machine, a package of Randle, Lou Williams and Nick Young can propel to the Lakers to acquire Love’s $21 million salary. The Cavaliers would free up more than $6 million on their 2016-17 payroll and have some cap flexibility entering the next offseason.
Remember, Young has player options next year and isn’t long term piece. Williams, on a $7 million-a-year deal, is a bargain contract and a handy scorer off the bench. Randle, a young double-double machine, could make for an interesting frontcourt pairing with Tristan Thompson.
Since Kevin Love played collegiate basketball for UCLA, the all-star forward would likely welcome a trade to the Lakers, a team that he supported while growing up. Would the Lakers push for the trade?