Report: Struggling Cleveland Cavaliers open to trading Kevin Love, finally

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According to ESPN, the Cleveland Cavaliers (5-16) are finally prepared to trade their five-time All-Star Kevin Love with trade opportunities set to open next weekend.

In news that was broken by the highly-respected Adrian Wojnarowski overnight, this update has come at a time where the Cavaliers are seemingly in tank mode once more.

Only a quarter of the way through 2019-20’s regular season, the 2016 champions already appear set for another forgettable campaign – after reports in The Athletic emerged on Friday suggesting not all is well between players and head coach John Beilein.

Coaching issues, reported distrust and more

Beilein addressed the speculation and vehemently denied suggestions that he’s already lost players’ trust, saying:

“We’ve met … and it’s like, ‘Coach, keep doing what you’re doing because we really need this. We need accountability – to play harder, stronger, tougher. Don’t stop what you’re doing.

We were the worst defensive team in the NBA last year. What do we do, practice less? I have a lot of confidence the guys in the locker room are on board and they’ve told me that.”

Cavs power forward Larry Nance Jr. expressed support for Beilein and disappointment that teammates were commenting about the coach behind his back.

“Ideally you want to keep that in-house if there was those issues, I guess that’s today’s NBA. I’ve never had an issue with a coach in my career, him being no different. I wanted to play for him at Michigan. I’m enjoying it.”

Elsewhere center Tristan Thompson, who was unaware of the report, said he too was annoyed to learn that some teammates were anonymously criticising Beilein.

“It’s not fair. I love Coach Beilein, he’s great for development and understands that players have so much in them, and he wants to get the best out of you.

I’m thinking the guy is pretty good, I’m probably the smartest guy in this locker room so if I think I know what the guy is doing, then we shouldn’t hear nothing else, to be honest.”

Perspective needed, given Cavs’ roster situation

There are a number of veterans whose contracts expire next summer, including Thompson, Brandon Knight, John Henson (all 28) and 27-year-old guard Jordan Clarkson.

Given the expensive nature of Love’s existing contract, it makes sense for Cleveland to opt out of that. Having signed a four-year extension over the summer, he’s owed $90m over the next three seasons and is earning $28.9m this term.

There are plenty of teams across both conferences said to be interested in the 31-year-old’s services – despite longevity questions – as he’d represent an important piece for any playoff side, particularly given how the league’s balance has shifted in recent months.

Among those teams are the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics and somewhat surprisingly, Phoenix Suns. So naturally, the Cavs’ willingness to listen to the right offers is important here. If they receive a package which includes young assets and/or future draft picks, they’d consider moving Love on.

December 15 is the date when players who signed free-agent contracts over the offseason are eligible to be moved – a status covering roughly 40% of the league. It makes sense that the Cavs are in full rebuild mode, looking to gather talented young players and draft picks as life after LeBron James (again) continues.

Information source: ESPN & Yahoo Sports 

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