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Per NBA rules, Kevin Love cannot be traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers until Jan. 22, 2019.
However, that contingency, which came about when the Cavaliers signed Love, a five-time All-Star, to a four-year, $120.4 million extension July 24.
As part of a compilation of trade ideas put together Wednesday, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report suggested Cleveland and the Charlotte Hornets would be good trade partners in a deal featuring Love.
Favale proposes the Cavaliers sending Love and swingman David Nwaba to the Hornets in exchange for Bismack Biyombo, Frank Kaminsky, Malik Monk, and a 2019 first-round pick, which would be lottery-protected through 2021 and then turn into two second-round picks if it is not conveyed.
Part of his rationale for the Love deal is as follows:
Finding a new home for him isn’t easy. He turned 30 in September, hasn’t cleared 60 appearances since 2015-16 and will be entering the first season of a four-year, $120.4 million extension in 2019-20. … The Cavaliers need him back on the court before they can solicit offers. Even then, no matter how well he plays, they’ll be lucky to get more than salary-cap relief and low-end assets.
Favale’s take on the swap from the Charlotte perspective goes like this:
Love is a tantalizing fit as part of a frontcourt rotation with Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams and Willy Hernangomez. He can play beside all of them — a Williams-Love duo is an attention-grabber — or none of them. Lineups with him at center have a shot at defensive survival if he’s playing with both Miles Bridges and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. David Nwaba, when healthy, is a nice defensive throw-in himself.
Favale suggests the Cavaliers would take almost zero time to fast-track such a transaction.
It should take the Cavaliers roughly 0.1 seconds to green-light this package. Biyombo is demonstratively overpaid, but he comes off the books in 2020 (assuming he picks up his $17 million player option next season), when they’ll also clear Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson from the ledger. Ditto for George Hill ($1 million guarantee in 2019-20) and J.R. Smith ($3.9 million guarantee in 2019-20) if they aren’t already gone.