The Cavs will entertain trade talks about Kevin Love until the deadline, but if this proposed trade is the best they muster, it’s best to pass.
I’m a Kevin Love fan. I’m a Cavs fan. I want Love on the Cavs. It’s that simple. That doesn’t mean I don’t know that a trade could happen. It absolutely could. I’d be ok with a trade, but only if it’s the right trade. Now, no one should expect a trade that nets the Cavs four-first-round picks or a developing young star. It should be better than this writer proposed trade to the Dallas Mavericks, however.
Brett Seigel of NBA Analysis pitched this trade that would see the Cavs ship Love to the Mavericks to team up with Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic.
Truthfully, this isn’t too far off from what the Cavs should try to get for Love. There are just two big issues with this trade that are absolute non-starters. The first is James Johnson, who does bring salary cap relief, but relief for what? The Cavs can’t really spend that money on anyone worth having and any “star” the Cavs do chase after will be a C+ player that they’re paying a max-level deal for. If you gotta take back money, then you should be taking back a player who can help.
We’re not asking for a star, just someone who’s not going to be a rental and can help solidify the bench.
The other non-starter is Dylan Windler. He’s the best rookie on this team through the season so far, at least offensively, and is absolutely someone the Cavs needed to give time to.
The rest of the trade is sound.
Here are two quick alternatives that I feel are better.
Keeping The Talent
This trade works better if you believe, like me, that all the salary cap space in the world isn’t going to help, as free agents aren’t keen on coming to Cleveland. So you might as well get a big that can come off the bench in Dwight Powell, who’s athletic enough to play both center and power forward.
The other hope is that you can convince Tim Hardaway Jr. to stick around because he’s an instant upgrade on the wing as either a shooting guard or small forward. That one move could send guys like Darius Garland and Isaac Okoro to reserve roles where they may be better off.
If you’re super serious about clearing space, then this is the trade for you.
Purging for Salary
Now maybe you’re not like me, maybe you think the Cavs can land a big(ish) name in free agency who can help the Cavs. Well, this trade, along with moving on from Andre Drummond, will save the Cavs $63.5 million after the 2020-2021 season.
Right now the Cavs are $19 million+ over the cap, which means the Cavs would have $44.5 million available after this trade and letting go of Drummond (assuming they don’t trade him for a bad contract).
So it really depends on which mindset you have. Are you trying to get the best talent possible to build around or are you trying to clear as much cap space as possible?