Fresh from winning the NBA 2016 title, the Cleveland Cavaliers are rumored to be trading Kevin Love with the free agency looming around the corner. Speculations are high on who will replace him to join LeBron James and company. Love has been linked to trade rumors especially after his poor display in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
According to ESPN?s Ian Begley, in case the Cavs are looking to make any major changes to their team, it would require a few significant departures for them to have enough cap space to sign a top free agent. One of the options is that the Cavs let Love go to deal with salary cap space and decide against re-signing J.R. Smith to create the requisite room in order to sign on Nicolas Batum.
Begley said ?I’d think Nicolas Batum, one of the top wings, would be a great fit. Batum can play shooting guard and small forward. His versatility (15 PPG, 6 APG) would fit well into any of Cleveland’s small-ball lineups.?
Batum, who was traded by the Portland Trail Blazers to the Charlotte Hornets last year, played the best season of his career with the Hornets, averaging 14.9 points, 6.1 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game. With such an impressive season, the Frenchman will certainly be looking for a max contract or at least close to that of a max deal which will cause a problem for the Cavs. The Cavs, who have the limited financial flexibility this offseason, would want to avoid a max deal, but according to Yibada they could convince the 27-year-old small forward to take less money for a shot at a championship which he probably won?t refuse.
However, despite the rumors, one of Cleveland Cavalier insiders revealed that Love isn?t going anywhere and would remain part of the team. Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Terry Pluto recently wrote about how he bumped into Cavs? GM David Griffin early on in the Finals who ?voiced his intent to hold onto Love.
?Early in The Finals, I ran into Cavs general manager David Griffin. We had a casual discussion, not for a story. But before I even asked about Love, Griffin mentioned how Love ?is very valuable? ?to the Cavs ? and there is no intent to trade him,? Pluto wrote.
Furthermore, though Love played poorly and scored just a few points in the Finals against the Golden State Warriors, he has been able to secure wins for the Cavs. His mere presence meant that the Warriors covered him with a big man to watch him near the perimeter which gave more room for Kyrie Irving and James to score. So while rumors may have it that Love will be transferred, it is still not entirely sure as the Cavs may after all decide to retain him.