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5 possible Kevin Love trades the Cleveland Cavaliers should consider

5 possible Kevin Love trades the Cleveland Cavaliers should consider
Published On: Thu, Jul 12
Feb 21, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) knocks the ball away from Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James has officially signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, which means the Cleveland Cavaliers are at a crossroads. The decisions they make in the next few months will play a large role in determining the future of the franchise.

The first part of that off-season plan is figuring out what to do with All-Star Kevin Love -- the team's best player and most valuable trade asset.

It's aA complicated choice with numerous layers.

The Cavs have been adamant about fighting for a playoff spot. They are in much better shape than 2010 -- the first time James left the organization in ruins. Love is an All-Star, the kind of offensive weapon that playoff-contending teams covet, but he can also play an important role for the retooling Cavs, serving as a veteran leader and offensive focal point.

Even with Love entering what could be the final year of his contract (he has a $25.6 million player option for 2019-20), the Cavs don't seem ready to move on.

"Kevin is an All-Star and you don't get better by moving Kevin,"A general manager Koby Altman said recently. "Kevin's been incredible for us for four years and he wants to be here, and to me that's a big part for guys that are here and the guys that we're gonna acquire, is that they want to be here and be a part of this new chapter and culture that we're creating."

But there's another truth here: Love is one of Clevelanda€™s few trade chips.

This is a new era. Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman are obvious building blocks. Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., added at the trade deadline, could also be viewed as core pieces as well. Same with Rodney Hood, who is a restricted free agent. Ante Zizic should probably be grouped in there as well.

Any other player on the roster should be considered expendable. That means George Hill, JR Smith, Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver. But none of them would bring as much back in return as Love. So if the Cavs determine it's time for a youth movement, going into asset-accumulation mode, then Love will garner plenty of interest.

In an ironic twist, the Cavs would benefit from losing this season. Their 2019 first-round pick is top 10 protected. If it falls outside the top 10 it goes to the Atlanta Hawks. Mediocrity is the worst spot in the NBA, and even more daunting for the Cavs given that protected first-round pick that could slip away.

With James in Los Angeles, the Cavs need draft picks and up-and-coming players. That's why no matter what the Cavaliers say about Love's future, the questions will keep coming. Heck, he's used to it by now. Love has been hearing the trade chatter since he arrived in 2014.

So here's another question: What would the Cavs be able to get in return?

The Pacers acquired Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis from Oklahoma City for Paul George. That was before Oladipo became the Most Improved Player and an All-Star. The Chicago Bulls got Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft for Jimmy Butler. Love doesn't have as much value as George or Butler. But those are the kinds of packages the Cavs should target.

Read the complete news article here...

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