Trade Kevin Love here. Trade Kevin Love there. Trade Kevin Love everywhere! But what about trading him to the Boston Celtics for the third overall pick in next month’s NBA Draft?
Kevin Love is on the move…again…even though he’s in the first year of a five-year. $110 million contract. That’s what The Vertical’s Chris Mannix would have has us believe if Love flops and the Cavs continue to get their butts handed into them in the NBA Finals.
Some national pundits, most notably, The Ringer’s Bill Simmons, believes Celtics GM Danny Ainge would move heaven and earth to get Love in a Celtic’s uniform.
The Celtics don’t have much on their actual roster that would peak the Cavs interest, but there are two parts I wouldn’t mind hauling out of Boston.
One of those is the third overall pick. Boston is reportedly thinking about trading it. Yeah, it’s a weak draft. Outside of Ben Simmons and maybe Brandon Ingram, the lottery isn’t buzzing with many impact makers.
But if your the Cavs, and you continue to get spanked by the Warriors, it may be time to do some soul searching.
This organization went all in when LeBron James returned two summers ago. James pushed for the Andrew Wiggins-Love deal. The Cavs traded away first round picks to clear cap space (to sign James) and to acquire players (Timofey Mozgov cost two first-rounders).
En route to the 2016 Finals, the franchise fired their coach midseason while giving a rookie assistant, Tyronn Lue, the clipboard. GM David Griffin traded a 2018 first rounder for Channing Frye (a good move until the Finals started).
Add it all up and it looks like the Cavs are good enough to win the east–but not the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
If and when the Cavs lose, this might be the most frustrating championship defeat in Cleveland history because the Cavs were so well positioned to give the Warriors a run (I said “might,” Jose Mesa). Everyone was healthy entering the series, and Stephen Curry and company made them look like a D-League team.
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The frustrating part of the helplessness we’re all feeling watching this series is summed up in one question: Does anyone believe the Cavs wouldn’t be in the The Finals if Kevin Love weren’t here?
Imagine if the Love trade doesn’t happen. The Cavs could place Wiggins on Klay Thompson! And while the future is still is bright for the Cavaliers, imagine how blinding it would be to have Wiggins–entering his third year–playing along side James.
But what’s done is done–and there’s no going back.
Which brings it back to Boston. It wouldn’t hurt the Cavs to add assets, but they’d also need a player than can contribute now. Plus, Love needs to yield more than the third overall pick in a weak draft.
Enter Jae Crowder.
Crowder is a 6-6 wing who can defend. He’s also starting to blossom as a scorer, as his scoring average leaped from 9.5 points per game after being acquired by the Celtics in 2015, to 14.2 points per contest in 2016.
He’s only a 34 percent 3-point shooter, but I’ll take that trade off for the athleticism he’ll bring on defense.
It’ll be interesting to see what Boston does with the pick. The franchise has eight selections in this year’s draft, so chances are they’ll move some of these picks. Ainge has longed over Love for some time, but Boston is in the conundrum of trying to compete with the Cavaliers.
Would Ainge want to help Cleveland out by dealing Crowder and No. 3? Probably not, and I’m not even sure the Cavs would agree.
But something’s got to give if the Cavs can’t compete with the Warriors. LeBron’s still an upper echelon player for now, but his window is getting smaller and smaller.