The Cleveland Cavaliers beat huge odds to win the #1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Cavs have won it 3 of the last 4 years and have had high picks all 4 years. Unfortunately the Cavs luck hasn’t always coincided with a great draft class. Until this year. The Cavs have the #1 pick in a draft that is considered the best in about a decade. The Cavs could draft Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid and change the direction of their franchise. Yet many want the Cavs to trade the pick, and more, for Kevin Love the All-Star from Minnesota. There are good reasons to make this trade, and we will cover in the future, but for now lets look at why the Cavs shouldn’t trade for Love.
Love can opt out of his contract at the end of next season meaning the Cavs could give up the pick and more for a player who could leave in a year. Based on the new CBA Love would miss out on tons of money if he signed an extension instead of getting to free agency this off-season. It is the same reason Dwight Howard didn’t extend with the Lakers when he was traded out there. The Cavs could give up 2 or 3 good players for one year of Love and hope they can get him to stick around. This was more palatable when the Cavs would be giving up the 9th pick, a player who could become a decent starter but most likely not an All-Star. Trading a pick in a lauded class for a player who could leave in a year is a high risk issue.
The Cavs’ current star player Kyrie Irving, does not play good (any) defense. Adding Love, whose value is almost totally on the offensive end of the floor, would leave the Cavs grasping on defense. A shot blocking, agile center and a shutdown small forward would be required to fit with Irving and Love. Getting either of those is easier said then done. James Harden is seen as a “great” player by the casual NBA observer but more in depth look shows that he plays almost no defense which causes great problems for their team, a team that has Howard on the back end. Love would improve the team on offense and make them worse on the defensive end. David Griffin has talked about finding players who “fit,” adding Love doesn’t fit the need for defense, though he is the type of shooter that Griffin has stated he wants.
Availability of Players
The Cavs have players available that fill needs on their roster with the #1 pick as well as in free agency and other trades. Trading for Love would cost that player at #1 as well as other talent on the Cavs roster. Trading #1 and Dion Waiters puts the number of solid wing type players on the Cavs to ZERO. Trading #1 with Tristan Thompson limits the number of solid defenders to one, the aging Anderson Varejao. By using the #1 pick the Cavs would maintain the flexibility to add players through free agency without Love’s big contract and have assets to make other deals to bring in players through trade to help the fit of the team.
Long Term Potential
Playing along with Love’s contract is the long term potential for the Cavaliers. The Cavs could have Irving and Wiggins dominating together for the next 6 to 10 years along with the other young players as they develop. They could have Irving in the backcourt and Embiid holding down the frontcourt. Long term growing together could make for an All Star team much the way the Thunder and Spurs have built themselves. Wiggins, Embiid and Parker are the type of players that, if available the last 2 years, would of changed the course of the franchise. Just because it is 1 or 2 years later doesn’t mean you pass on that opportunity.
Why do you think the Cavs shouldn’t trade for Love?