Trading Kevin Love
Why it should be considered:
Batum is a 27-year-old perimeter player in his 8th season in the NBA. At 6-foot-8, 200 pounds, Batum has the length and speed to guard anyone on the perimeter. Batum is averaging 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game from the perimeter and is a career 36 percent 3-point shooter. Along with his offensive contributions, Batum is a great perimeter defender.
Love’s talents are undeniable, but so are his struggles in Cleveland. In his first year with the Cavs, the power forward averaged 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 43 percent from the floor. This year, Love’s numbers are eerily similar: 16.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 43 percent from the floor. Because Love can’t seem to find the recipe to maximize his talents on the roster, perhaps the best way for him to serve this team is as a piece of trade bait.
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Financially, Love is under contract for the rest of this season and the four seasons that follow. Batum, on the other hand, is only under contract for the rest of this season and could look to bolt Charlotte at season’s end. This would be Batum’s first opportunity to play for a legitimate contender, and is more likely to sign in Cleveland at season’s end than he is in Charlotte.
From a basketball standpoint, both teams would benefit, also.
Love would be a welcome addition to the Hornets, who are 17-14 and are looking to make their next step as a franchise, and who just learned they would be without the services of Al Jefferson for the next six weeks after undergoing meniscus surgery. Love would bolster the Hornets’ front court in Jefferson’s absence and will be able to co-exist with Jefferson when he comes back. The Hornets could jump at the opportunity to acquire Love’s services for the rest of the season and for the foreseeable future.
For the Cavaliers, acquiring Batum in this trade would be a major step in achieving flexibility to play small lineups, when the situation dictates. The Cavaliers would be able to play a lineup of Irving, JR Smith, Batum, James, and Thompson. Additionally, they would have enough depth to play a small lineup in the second unit, also, with combinations of Matthew Dellavedova, Mo Williams, Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson, and Anderson Varejao at their disposal.
The Cavaliers would have the ability to put very exciting small lineups on the floor, but could still play with traditional lineups with Timofey Mozgov or Varejao at center with Thompson or Kaminsky at the power forward position.
Next: Another Batum Scenario