Kevin Love is an interesting player. He’s a player with a lot of skill, a player with plenty of talent, and a player who is a great passer and a great scorer. You can say that he’s a great all-around player, and that he’s even one of the best power forwards in the NBA. But here’s the problem: since he entered the NBA, the only time he’s been a franchise cornerstone, he’s been with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Brooklyn Nets are facing a unique situation. They are the only NBA franchise without a confirmed All-Star, and they have one of the most underrated rosters the league has to offer. But they have a glaring hole in their roster, and it’s one that they’ll have to fill if they want to make a deep run into the playoffs. That hole is the absence of a true power forward who can pair with Kevin Love to form the core of a winning team.The Brooklyn Nets failed to achieve their goal of an NBA championship. After losing to the Milwaukee Bucks at home in Game 7, the Nets face an offseason of upsets as eight players will be available in August. But they may have a chance to steal away former All-Star Kevin Love from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This plan will require additional maneuvers. This summer in Brooklyn, there are no open seats and no way to get open. This would make it difficult to do anything more than retain free agents. Kevin Love’s availability depends on events beyond Brooklyn’s control. And other teams may have the same idea this summer.
With the Cavaliers, Kevin Love had the least productive year of his career in 2020-21. Not only did Love miss 47 games due to injury, but he was limited when he played.
When he was healthy enough to be on the field, he played an average of 24.9 minutes per game. He averaged 12.2 points per game, the second lowest of his career. His average of 7.4 rebounds per game is the lowest. Love shot 40.9 percent (the second worst mark of his career), 36.5 percent from three-pointers and 82.4 percent from the free throw line.
Love is far from being at its peak. He’s a five-time All-Star, but not since 2018. The last of his All-NBA seasons came in 2013-14. Over the past three seasons, Love has played just 103 of a possible 219 games. He will also be 33 years old for the start of next season.
It’s not right. But Kevin Love has potential, and the Brooklyn Nets could have a chance to hijack him away from the Barclays Center.
Kevin Love, left, and Kevin Durant of the 2021 U.S. men’s basketball team laugh after a practice at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Kevin Love was an excellent choice to add to the 12-man squad that will take the U.S. basketball team to the Tokyo Olympics in late July. Few players get an Olympic bid after their worst season.
According to some reports, the Brooklyn Nets would be in a good position to take advantage. Love will reportedly share a room with Nets star Kevin Durant during the Olympics. Durant and Love have played together before in red-white-and-blue jerseys. Both were members of the U.S. team that won gold medals in London in 2012.
According to the New York Post, Love is realistic about the state of his career.
Yes, I realize that in my 14. The season is probably over, being #1, playing 35 minutes and getting 20 touches a game. But the way I can impact the team and the way I feel now, I know I can do it at a very high level. I try not to put a ceiling or limit on myself at all. As long as I feel good, I know I’ll play well.
If I’m asked to flip a career to win a team, I’m willing to do it. … But I feel like on this team [the Cavaliers] or whatever team I end up on, the U.S. National Team, I can go in the right direction for everybody. It doesn’t matter who I play with or who I’m on the field with.
Is it realistic for the Brooklyn Nets to get Kevin Love? This goes back to the definition of the term realistic.
The Brooklyn Nets have few options to acquire Kevin Love, except to trade one of their superstars to get him. Love has two years and $60.2 million left on the four-year contract he signed with Cleveland in 2018.
The easiest path to Brooklyn for Love would have been a buyout by the Cavaliers. Cleveland is in rebuilding mode following the departure of LeBron James after the 2017-18 season. More importantly, the Cavs have just under $1.5 million in dead money for next season. After that, they have no dead money obligations.
Cleveland could pay Love the remaining $60.2 million over five seasons to make the annual amount at least slightly more reasonable by using the extension clause in the collective bargaining agreement. During the regular off-season, this extension clause is only available until the 31st. August valid. Since this season started late and ended early, a contract extension beyond this date seems likely.
In that case, Love could sign a minimal veteran contract in Brooklyn (think Blake Griffin). It takes a lot of moving parts for Kevin Love to transfer to the Brooklyn Nets.
Statistics provided by Basketball-Reference.
COMPARED TO: Kevin Durant fires firecrackers at NBA fans dissatisfied with his decision on July 4 complaint
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