There’s no reason to trade Kevin Love with the Cavs actually competing
There was a time when it made sense to trade Kevin Love. The Cavs signed Love to an extension and were immediately a bad team, with a changing identity week to week, it had no real defense and the team centered around Collin Sexton doing most of the scoring; even if he didn’t make the offense better statistically. It was a wild three years. Since the deal, Love has not been healthy or engaged in the team.
A large part of that had to do with the Cavaliers as a whole just not going anywhere. His play declined, his effort declined, his attitude declines; there was every reason in the world to release him or trade him.
That’s not the reality of the situation any longer.
Kevin Love is a crucial part of the Cavs revival efforts
I’ve always been a Love fan, and to see him fall apart physically and mentally over the last few years was heartbreaking. Yet, his revival has coincided with the Cavs efforts in 2021-2022 to compete for the playoffs. Love, like the team, seems revitalized. Not since the Finals Era has the Cavs looked this motivated.
Part of that has to do with the big acquisitions that Koby Altman made over the last two years; getting Jarrett Allen, Lauri Markkanen, Ricky Rubio and Evan Mobley remade this team. There was a new energy, especially after this offseason, that sparked the team. Love, who was moved from a starters position to a reserved position on the bench, was seen as someone on his way out of town.
Buyout rumors popped up, and a desire to play in Portland was mentioned. When the dust settled, Love was still in Cleveland and the Cavs intended on playing him.
While he’s not the All-Star he once was, Love is healthy, engaged, and performing well. He’s playing 20 minutes a game while putting up 11 points per game and 7.5 rebounds. He’s shooting 41% from the floor and 36% from three. His play and numbers have increased after being out for eight games due to health and safety issues. Since then he’s shooting 46% from the floor and 45% from three, and went from scoring 9.8 points per game before his eight-game break to 12.4 points per game.
His rebounds are up too, from 7.2 per game to 7.7.
If Love is this locked in and this engaged, it makes no sense to trade him. The Cavs are benefiting from his ability to get a double-double off the bench in just 20 minutes of play, and if any one of the three starting bigs gets into foul trouble or goes down, Love becomes an instant replacement. His defense is also greatly improved from past seasons as well, back to his championship form.
Trading him away would only hurt the chemistry of the team. Going after a guy like Harrison Barnes makes no sense when Love is playing as well as Barnes.In a comparison of their RAPTOR scores, which essentially says how much he contributes to a team’s success on both ends of the floor.
Barnes has an offensive RAPTOR score of +2.8 and a defensive score of +0.8.
Love has an offensive RAPTOR score of +2.4 and a defensive score of +1.2.
Now, if Barnes becomes a buyout option, let’s talk, but trading Love, a young player, and maybe a draft pick or two for Barnes is ludicrous when the improvement if anything is minute. It makes even less sense when you see how well Lauri Markkanen and Cedi Osman are playing as well. Plus, Isaac Okoro is putting up a great season on defense. Much improved from his rookie season.
Exploring a buyout market is fine, but frankly, there’s no reason to make any trades this season. Let alone one that involves Love.