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The Cleveland Cavaliers have been consistent with their message since the season ended — they have no intentions of moving Kevin Love.
That could change, however, as the five-time All-Star is the player who remains on the roster who carries the most trade value.
Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto spoke to an NBA executive who said the Cavaliers would have to be “blown away by an offer” to deal Love before the 2018-19 season tips off, adding “I think they’ll open the season with Love.”
The 6-foot-10, 251-pound Love has one season left on his contract that will pay him $24 million next season. He has a player option of $25.6 million for 2019-20 that he will most likely decline and become a free agent next summer.
All of which means Love is a prime candidate to be traded for younger players and/or draft picks, especially with him turning 30 on Sept. 7.
According to Pluto’s report, a potential trade of Love is much more likely at the trade deadline.
“Because I think he’ll be more in demand during the season by the trading deadline,” the executive told Pluto. “Kevin could have a very good year for the Cavs being the focal point of the offense. He is a talented player.”
With LeBron James now a Los Angeles Laker and Kyrie Irving now a Boston Celtic, Love is sure to be the focal point of the new offensive system coach Tyronn Lue plans on installing when training camp opens in September.
Love’s game — he averaged 17.6 points and 9.0 rebounds, shooting 41 percent from the 3-point line last season — will help rookie point guard Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson and other Cavaliers who thrive on being in attack mode, the executive told Pluto, not to mention his prowess on the glass.
“He remains an excellent defensive rebounder,” the executive said. “That also will help the younger players.”
According to Pluto, the executive’s point wasn’t that the Cavs should keep Love all season and try to find a way into the playoffs, “unless they don’t get much of an offer for Love.”
There is risk, though, of waiting to move Love.
“The only downside would be if Love had a major injury,” the executive told Pluto.
Love had his shoulder ripped out of socket by Boston’s Kelly Olynyk in a first-round playoff series in 2015, an injury that forced him to miss the rest of the playoffs and required surgery to repair.
He missed games in the 2017 and 2018 postseasons because of concussions.
Love missed 22 games in the 2016-17 regular season and 23 last season.