The furor over Kevin Love’s on-court temper tantrum has subsided. It’s not entirely clear who or what caused the frustration to boil over, but the obvious candidates are the passing-challenged Collin Sexton, or the new coach John Beilein. Beilein himself took responsibility for failing to recognize that Love had a mismatch on Chris Paul, but it’s all beside the point: Kevin Love is not happy on a tanking Cleveland Cavaliers team, and he’s not appealing to opposing teams while he shows up his teammates and coach on the court.
Love came pretty close to acknowledging this, apologizing publicly and saying that whether he’s in Cleveland for five more weeks, or five more months, he owes it to the team to be a professional. For a guy under contract for three more years after this one, his message was clear - I’ll be a good soldier, but it’s time to go. Once again though, therein lies the problem. Love is owed north of $90 million over three years after this one, and will turn 32 in September. He hasn’t played over 60 games in a season since 2015-16. He’s been a productive player on a championship team, but it wasn’t clear that he was a difference-maker on the highest stage.
Okay, maybe now it’s getting unfair. Those Warriors teams were insane, and they were built in away that uniquely devalued Love’s contributions. At the moment, that Golden State team doesn’t exist. Love is averaging 17 and 10 with a young guard in Darius Garland that is the best kind of project, but a project all the same, and a combo guard in Collin Sexton that must master the passing part of what makes someone a combo guard. He’s clearly the best player on a Cavs team that might challenge some of the worst teams of all time simply on account of their youth if he wasn’t there. In a league where the talent is dispersed more evenly than it’s been since the mid-00’s, it’s possible teams think Love is a solution.
Either way, it’s time for me to stop stalling. You’re here for Kevin Love destinations. Here are five trades that make sense for Love, the Cavs, and his destination. Let’s start with a spicy one.