Kevin Love did not cover himself in glory during the Cleveland Cavaliers' loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday night. Frustrated with the officiating, Love palmed the ball thrown at him by the referee into play from an in-bound pass. A Raptors player picked the ball up and turned it into a three-pointer.
The Cavs' coaching staff were understandably furious with the 32-year-old and Love was made to sit out the entire 4th quarter.
Kevin Love has since apologized and declared his love for Cleveland. However, that hasn't stopped potential NBA trades emerging for the power forward. This article will look at three teams that could trade for Love next season and what any such deal might look like.
3 teams that could target Kevin Love in the offseason
Talks surrounding Kevin Love's future with the Cleveland Cavaliers started before the season began and lasted until the trade deadline. However, no trade transpired, partly due to his hefty price tag. Kevin Love is owed $60m over the next two seasons.
Although Love wants to play for another contender, it may be unattainable unless a buyout is agreed. A buyout would mean that the power forward would have to take a pay-cut. However, this has happened before. To sign with the Nets, Blake Griffin gave up $13m of the $75m Detroit owed him. If Love gets bought out by the Cavaliers, it will make him an extremely valuable commodity on the market.
Should he not agree to a buyout, there are still several teams that could consider making a trade for Kevin Love. The Cleveland Cavaliers may settle for a reduced package for their unhappy power forward.
Love is still an effective scorer when on the floor and has championship experience. He has shot at over 44% throughout his career from the field and is a serial rebounder.
Let's take a look at three teams that could consider a trade for Kevin Love after the season is over.
#1 Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves have had almost as bad a season as the Cleveland Cavaliers this year.
Although they have three All-Star caliber players, Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards have struggled for fitness. Moreover, the T-Wolves lack depth and experience in the frontcourt. Their regular pairing of Jaden McDaniels and Josh Okogie has an average age of 21, while backup forward Jared Vanderbilt is only 22.
Therefore, adding Kevin Love's veteran experience to the Timberwolves' set-up would make a lot of sense, either as a starter or role player. He already has a close affinity with Minnesota fans, having spent six years of his career with the franchise. He was named an All-Star on three occasions during his stretch with the team.
There have also been rumors that the Timberwolves are looking to offload either Towns, Russell, or both. This would free up a lot of cap space for the front office. However, they would prefer to sign Kevin Love after a buyout rather than a trade, which would cost them $30m a season.
That being said, he can still provide efficient minutes from the bench. He has put up 18 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes this season. Therefore, they might find value in his short-term price if he can provide a fix to their frontcourt.
#2 Charlotte Hornets
Before injuries to LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, the Charlotte Hornets had a realistic chance of finishing in the top six places in the East. It has been a stellar year for some of their stars. Ball has been special in his rookie season and Hayward has proved to be back to his best. With those two out currently, Rozier has picked up the mantle and has been electric, averaging 20.8 points and 7.7 assists in his last ten games.
Akin to the Timberwolves, Charlotte could do with some help in their frontcourt. Cody Zeller is set to become a free agent this summer and Kevin Love would be more than adequate as a replacement. Love has shown that he hates losing, which has allowed his frustrations to get the better of him with the Cavs.
His passion and desire to win could easily translate into being a beneficial postseason player for the Hornets. A frontcourt pairing of Hayward and Kevin Love could be highly effective for Charlotte, while his championship experience would benefit their young talents such as Ball and Miles Bridges.
#3 Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards are a team that could do with a third star like Kevin Love. They also have several players they could offload to the rebuilding Cavs organization in exchange for Love's services. Pushing up the Eastern Conference, the Wizards may still have a chance to make the playoffs. Their dangerous duo of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal have been playing at an All-Star level.
Outside of their two superstars, Washington doesn't have a lot of depth. They have a few young talents such as Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija; however, they also have Davis Bertans and Thomas Bryant eating up $24.6m worth of cap space.
Kevin Love's contract on top of Beal and Westbrook's would be quite a daunting sum for the Wizards' front office at $109.9m. However, they remain a realistic destination for Love since they need frontcourt help.
His ability to knock down shots from the perimeter would complement the game of Washington's two star guards quite well. Having a player with Kevin Love's experience and pairing him with a young star such as Hachimura could help the Wizards cement a playoff berth earlier in the year next season.