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Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman isn’t yet entertaining offers for All-Star power forward Kevin Love, but Altman can expect the phone to start ringing soon.
According to several Amico Hoops sources, both the Charlotte Hornets and Dallas Mavericks have a fairly strong interest in Love, who’s appeared in just four games this season.
But for opposing teams looking to upgrade the roster, it’s not about how many games Love hasn’t played. They’re thinking about the future.
Love, 30, underwent left foot surgery in early November and has been on the shelf ever since. The issue seemed to be his big toe, though that’s not ever really been made clear.
Nor does anyone seem real certain when Love will return. That includes Love himself.
“I’ll get more of an idea of that over the next couple weeks,”Love said from practice Monday. “I don’t know when I’ll be able to go one-on-one, two-on-two or three-on-three. But that’s all part of the next few weeks, I’d say.”
When Love is healthy, he has proven to be a top-notch scorer, excellent rebounder and fantabulous outlet passer. He is one of the few big men in the world who can be deadly from the perimeter and also lead the team in rebounding.
Problem is, if there is a basketball season, you can almost be sure Love will miss a pretty decent chunk of it. He can do a little bit of everything, but it’s safe to say durability is not among his strengths.
He does appear to have plenty of loyalty to the organization, though.
And when you consider that a homegrown superstar has bolted the organization on two separate occasions, well, loyalty in these parts probably means more than most.
Love’s willingness to stay in one place is something else opponents covet. They particularly like how he signed a four-year contract extension AFTER LeBron James left.
So if you trade for Love, you’re not just trading for a rental. Ideally, you’re trading for a cornerstone.
As for the Hornets and Mavericks, it’s hard to envision either team having enough of what the Cavs would like to get back if they were to ever deal Love (young players, lots of draft picks).
The Hornets are hoping to bring in another star to pair with still-on-the-rise point guard Kemba Walker — who enters free agency in July. And the Mavericks would love to find someone to place next to remarkable rookie wing Luka Doncic.
Of course, many around the league seem to think the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets will eventually get in on the potential Love sweepstakes, and that may make the Cavs’ ears perk up a little.
The Celtics, after all, have four first-round picks. The Nuggets, after all, have some nice young players. But for now, it’s all speculation.
Actually, everything surrounding Love is speculation — his return date, how he’ll fit in with an 8-32 team that is now getting pummeled regularly, and if Altman could actually move him (or would even be open to moving him) before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
All we know for sure is what Love says, and for now, he says the Cavs are where his heart is.
“I would love to be here, would love to get through a whole season healthy,” he said. “I’ve had nagging things that have taken time and been a little bit unlucky. But I would like to play ball here.”