Should the Cleveland Cavaliers trade Kevin Love?

Cavs struggling despite roster full of starpower


CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Cavilers are a very weird basketball team. They have the best player on the planet, two other guys that can put up 20 plus on any night, and a decent group of reserve players including a future hall of famer in Dwayne Wade.Yet, they can’t play defense. And when I say that, I’m not trying to be cute. I really mean it, they straight up stink at defense. It’s like they’re not even trying out there.

Since the New Year, they have given up 127, 131, 127, 133, 118, and 148 points. One hundred forty eight points! No overtime, just four quarters of getting their butts kicked. 

It’s insane. 

That should never, ever happen to a title contender. 


The Cavs have to do something. You can’t waste what could potentially be the last year of LeBron in a Cavs uniform having teams run up and down the court on you. 

And if all this defense talk wasn’t bad enough, now it seems like the entire Cavs locker room has turned on Kevin Love. 

About 2 weeks into life with Love, it was pretty clear that LeBron didn’t like playing with him. I don’t know if it was because he thought Love was going to be better, or if it was just cause Love was never going to be a member of Team Banana Boat, but Love has never felt like part of the LeBron family. It looks like this has finally boiled over, with teammates now accusing Love of faking an illness to get out of a practice. 

Let me remind you, this is not a High School team we are talking about; this is the 3-time defending Eastern Conference Championship team. 

This is where I come in, with the help of the ESPN Trade Machine tool to fix Cleveland’s problems. 

I have come up with 4 potential trades the Cavs could pull off within the Salary Cap.

Trade 1
Cavilers trade – Kevin Love 3 years 22,642,350
            Channing Frye 1 year 7,420,912

Hornets trade - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 3 years 13m
           Kemba Walker 2 years 12m
           Frank Kaminsky 2 years 2,847,600

The Hornets are in sell mode, so their players are available via trade, however my guess is they would rather get building blocks rather than an established star. The reason I mention this trade is because the Cavs become a better team with this trade, and because they are getting young players, under contract in return, they could be swayed to part ways with the Brooklyn pick they got in the Kyrie Irving deal. That pick is not going to be nearly as high as it was originally thought to be, so the idea that they will be getting a star player in next years draft is looking less and less likely. Adding Kemba gives the Cavs another off ball scorer, Kidd-Gilchrist provides wing defense, and Kaminsky can give you minutes off the bench as a stretch 4. 

Bonus points for this trade because with Walker on the team, the Cavs wouldn’t be forced to resign Isaiah Thomas to a huge max contract. 

Odds of happening – 1 out of 5 LeBron sub tweets. 

Trade 2

Cavilers trade - Kevin Love 3 years 22,642,350

Mavericks trade - Harrison Barnes 3 years 23,112,004
               Nerlens Noel 1 year 4,187,599

This would be a pretty cool trade. Barnes has been good for the Mavericks since joining the team as a free agent. He’s not a superstar, but he is a damn good player. Love may be a better player, but the Cavs goal is to win a championship, and I think Barnes matches up against the Warriors better than Love does. Nerlens Noel is a nothing for the Mavs, he never plays, and wont be there next year, if adding him to the trade gets this done, I don’t think the Mavs would blink. 

Bonus points for this trade because Love getting a year or 2 with Dirk could do wonders for the second half of his career. 

Odds of happening – 1.5 out of 5 LeBron sub tweets. 

Trade 3 

Cavilers trade - Kevin Love 3 years 22,642,350
           Channing Frye 1 year 7,420,912

Magic trade -  Evan Fournier 4 years 17m
        Aaron Gordon 1 year 5,504,420
        Aaron Afflalo 1 year 1,471,382

Here is a trade that is very similar to the Hornets one, but with a much higher probability of actually going down. The Magic are a team full of young, high draft picks, that’s a gift and a curse. It’s good because, well, having good young players is something you want in the NBA, but its bad because the players aren’t any where near being ready to contend, so the big name free agents wont even come in for a visit. Getting a star via trade is their best bet. In this deal, the Cavs add scoring and athleticism on the wing, which is exactly what they need. Fournier is a better version of Jeff Green who the Cavs count on a lot to score from the second unit. Gordon has loads of potential, and even more athleticism to boot. Afflalo fits right in as a knock down 3-point shooter. 

Bonus points for this trade because the thought of LeBron James and Aaron Gordon running the fast break together could break the Internet. 

Odds of happening – 3.5 out of 5 LeBron sub tweets. 

Trade 4

Cavilers trade - Kevin Love 3 years 22,642,350

Pistons trade - Tobias Harris 2 years 16m
          Stanley Johnson 2 years 3,097,800

You know I had to throw a Pistons trade in here, and honestly, this one makes so much sense I wish it would go down. My logic here is a lot like the logic I used for the Mavericks trade, Love is better than Tobias, but Tobias matches up way better against the Warriors than Love does. The first half of the season has shown that Tobias can put up big offensive numbers, and he’s also long enough to stay out on the perimeter against good scorers, i.e. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson. Stanley has potential, but he’s asked to do way too much on this Pistons team, in Cleveland he would be the new Iman Shumpert. 

From the Pistons standpoint, Love playing alongside Andre Drummond is a fascinating proposition. Drummond can stick to only doing high screen and rolls, and dominating the glass. Love can step in and be the focal point of the offense, something the Pistons need desperately. 

I’ll add another wrinkle to this trade, how about the Pistons throw in Avery Bradley for the Brooklyn pick. It’s 50/50 whether or not the Pistons will resign Bradley in the offseason, so if the Pistons can turn him into a top 10 pick, I’d call that a win. 

Bonus points for this trade because seeing Stanley Johnson play in the NBA Finals would make Pistons fans heads explode. 

Odd of happening – 1 out of 5 LeBron sub tweets.