The Kevin Love trade rumors just wouldn’t die down. Speculation emerged over the weekend that the Cleveland Cavaliers are planning to swap the sweet-shooting power forward for Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel.
As of the moment, the Cavaliers only have Tristan Thompson and Chris Andersen at the center position. Despite his ferocity on the boards, Thompson is only 6-foot-9. Meanwhile, Andersen is way past his prime at 38 years old.
Josh Lloyd gave some fascinating insights why the Cavaliers have Noel on their radar. The NBA analyst took to Twitter to reveal impressive defensive stats from the 76ers sophomore.
“No NBA player has ever matched Noel’s per game steal (1.8) and block (1.7) averages through his rookie and sophomore seasons,” read the post. “He has the second-highest career defensive box plus-minus (DBPM) for qualified two-year veterans, trailing only David Robinson.”
In two seasons, Noel also averaged a decent 10 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He shot 49 percent from the field and 60 percent from the charity stripe. However, the arrival of Joel Embiid has created a logjam at the center position. The 76ers reportedly prefer trading Noel over versatile big man Jahlil Okafor.
Sixers Sense indicated that the salary cap-rich 76ers will have no problem inheriting Love’s enormous contract. The potential trade would include Noel as well as two other assets, not named Embiid, Okafor and Ben Simmons.
On the other hand, the Cavaliers would get a quality rim protector who, together with Thompson, would provide extra possessions for Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. Love’s salary dump would also allow the team to give J.R. Smith a much-deserved raise.
As a disclaimer, the Cavaliers have gone on record saying that they have no intention to trade Love. Their primary focus heading into next season is to try and keep the band together.
According to Real GM, Love is “in the best place” mentally and physically since being dealt to the Cavaliers. The one-time league rebounding leader and three-point contest champion has reportedly trimmed down to get ready for training camp later this month.