If you’ve been following the NBA as of late, you would know that it’s looking like the end of the Kevin Love era in the Cleveland Cavaliers organization is coming to an end. The 32-year-old power forward still has two years and over $60 million remaining on his contract, however, the Cavaliers have spent the offseason bringing in younger talent to fill out their frontcourt. After all, Cleveland is going to want to see its younger guys getting playing time over a declining veteran like Love.
The issue here is that Love doesn’t want to be bought out, which puts the Cavaliers in a rough spot. The veteran averaged 12.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last year — arguably his worst campaign since his rookie year. Those stats are hardly worth the $60 million price tag going forward unless Cleveland unloads promising young pieces and draft picks in a trade.
Now, Bovada is favoring Kevin Love to remain on the Cavaliers to open the 2021-22 NBA season at -200 odds. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially with how close we are to the October 19 start date. Teams hardly have any cap space at this point, which means a large contract would have to go back to Cleveland. It might take some time for a trade to develop, which may not even happen until the next offseason if Love can’t prove that he’s worth being traded for.
Regardless, don’t expect to see Love out of a Cavaliers uniform any time soon.
Kevin Love Team to Start the 2021-22 NBA Season
Odds via Bovada as of Thursday, September 2
- Cleveland Cavaliers (-200)
- Brooklyn Nets (+550)
- Los Angeles Clippers (+800)
- Philadelphia 76ers (+1000)
- San Antonio Spurs (+1400)
- Los Angeles Lakers (+1600)
- Golden State Warriors (+2000)
- New Orleans Pelicans (+2000)
Love Brooklyn Nets Odds
At +550 odds, the Brooklyn Nets happen to be the likeliest team to land Kevin Love ahead of the 2021-22 season. However, the only way for this to happen would be if Love accepts a buyout because the Nets don’t have the contracts to match the veteran’s in a potential trade. Nevertheless, Brooklyn hasn’t hidden the fact that they’d like to bring the five-time NBA All-Star into the fold.
The Nets would be a good fit for Love on some kind of veteran’s minimum contract. Unlike in Cleveland, he’d be in a more supporting role in Brooklyn. Everyone knows that the team’s offense runs through the ‘Big 3’ of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, so a lot of pressure would be off Love’s shoulders.
Kevin Love would still see some playing time — likely at center — as DeAndre Jordan is no longer the player that he once was. While Love is also a shell of his former self, he can do something that Jordan can’t: stretch the floor. The two-time All-NBA second-team veteran has a career three-point percentage of .370 while Jordan’s is .083 after attempting just 12 shots from beyond the arc in his career. Needless to say, Love would certainly make the Nets better if they can find a way to bring him in.
Kevin Love Clippers Odds
If Kevin Love doesn’t open up the new NBA season with the Cavaliers or Nets, the Los Angeles Clippers are the next likeliest spot at +800 odds. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, especially as the Clippers have been actively pursuing a trade for the former superstar for more than a year and a half.
Love would work great on the Clippers, especially with the team’s love for floor spacing. Even if he’s no longer the guy who helped Cleveland win an NBA Championship half a decade ago, he can still contribute the opposition’s main focus will be to guard Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
A contract like Marcus Morris Sr.’s ($15.6 million in 2021-22) would have to be included in any possible trade and the Clippers may have to involve a third team unless they’re willing to part with a player like Luke Kennard ($12.7 million). Otherwise, they’ll have to hope that Cleveland and Love somehow reach a buyout and that they’re first in line to pick up the pieces.