Trade talk has been nothing new for Kevin Love. But now, it looks to be becoming more realistic that a deal with an Eastern Conference rival could be done.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had the definition of a roller coaster season both on and off the court. They are currently enjoying the peak of that ride after winning two straight games in the NBA Finals to tie the series 3-3 heading back to Golden State for a decisive Game 7.
From a macro-level, you’d think it would be crazy adjust a roster that is making its second straight Finals appearance and is now on the brink of becoming champions, but ever since they made the trade for Kevin Love, his production has been put under a microscope and he doesn’t seem to be fitting in as planned. At this point even if the Cavaliers were to win the championship, trading Love for players who fit in better with this roster makes sense.
The Celtics have a bevy of assets that they could offer the Cavaliers for Love. Boston has eight picks in this year’s NBA Draft along with a couple of players that would fit this Cavaliers team perfectly. Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley are the first to come to mind. Crowder has proven to develop into one of the best young 3-and-D players that the Cavaliers desperately need.
It’s unclear if Love’s worth at this point is equal to that of both Crowder and Bradley. The Celtics wouldn’t want to give up two of their prized assets for Love if they don’t need to. On the other hand, the Cavaliers aren’t a team that could be persuaded by draft picks. They’re a team that has championship aspirations immediately, not a team that has time to develop rookies.
Love’s time in Cleveland has been rough to say the least. Just three years ago, he was considered one of the best players in the league after dominating with averages of 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was expected that he would take a backseat in Cleveland to LeBron James and at times, Kyrie Irving. But now, he has become sometimes the fourth or fifth option offensively with the majority of his shots coming from three.
It’s not guaranteed that Love could return to the force he was in Minnesota, but he would still be a star player that could help lift a team like Boston to realistic contenders in the East. Many will be quick to disagree based off his performance this postseason, but the Celtics are in desperate need of a stretch-4 who can control the glass.
Love hasn’t showed that in Cleveland the past two seasons, but it’s pretty clear that playing alongside James hasn’t benefitted Love’s game by making him more perimeter-oriented.
The Love trade talk to Boston was pure speculation a few weeks back, but now that Ainge met with his agent, it’s turning into more of a realistic possibility that Love could be playing his home games in the Boston Garden next season.