NBA betting focus: How would trading Kevin Love to Portland affect the Cavs?

Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love is reportedly seeking a trade before the Feb. 6 deadline.

When Zach Collins broke down with a shoulder injury that is set to keep him out until March at the earliest, the Portland Trail Blazers had a major problem to fix.

They signed Carmelo Anthony, largely as a short-term alternative to the seven-footer, while Anthony Tolliver is another veteran who perhaps hasn’t done enough to fill Collins’ sizable shoes.

A run of just two wins in their last eight starts has left the franchise seeking further reinforcements to energize their assault on the Northwest Division.

So, naturally, Oregon man Kevin Love has appeared in the Trail Blazers’ crosshairs as they look to steady their sinking ship.

‘Kevin Love’ – Erik Drost via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

And the Portland outfit might even wait until the end of the season to make their move if the Cavs decide to strengthen in the forward department, augmenting their offense with the 31-year-old in conjunction with a fit-again Collins.

The man himself is unsure of what is going to happen to his rather lucrative four-year contract, which is said to be worth a whopping $30 million a season. “I’m just going to let the chips fall,” Love has said.

“I know that this is a young team. I think I can help them. I’m going to do right by Cleveland, the organization.” He also referred to the rebuilding operation at the Cavs, which naturally has a knock-on effect on week-by-week form.

Despite his issues with a back injury and his advancing years, Love is still an integral part of this Cavs line-up, and he has spoken of his contentment with the franchise. He’s averaging 17.9 points per game this term, which is his best output since 2016-17, he’s winning more rebounds than he has in years and his field goal percentage is higher now than in his ring season of 2015-16.

In short, Kevin Love is still an elite-level operator. And he remains incredibly popular on the team and in basketball in general for his outspoken approach to his battles with depression and anxiety.

Cleveland certainly need to hang on to their talisman too. Sitting at 5-12 at the time of writing, hopes of a play-off place are fading fast. They are being left behind in the sportsbook’s betting odds, and if Love was following such things he would note that at a best price of +4000 at the time of writing, Portland are much more likely to reach the play-offs from the Northwest Division.

Indeed, some sportsbooks run a ‘to make the play-offs’ sub-market, and right now the Trail Blazers are an even-money chance – that’s +0 – to turn around their early-season form. The Cavs, on the other hand, are a full -2000 not to extend their campaign beyond the regular season.

To compound the misery, at the time of writing the sportsbooks make the Cleveland outfit a staggering +50000 shot to win the Central Division, such is their shortcomings.

So, when even the very best betting sites as far as Australia are struggling to comprehend the Cavs repeating their 2015-16 successes in the Championship Finals, you’d have to conclude that, for this season at least, their hopes of glory are over. Will that impact upon Love’s decision making?

Love a Smart Bet to Stay Put

Can the Cavs afford to let Love go? Perhaps not, and it would be a shock if they even entertained that notion prior to the end of the campaign, at which point they can make more formal arrangements looking ahead to next season. If a play-off place is not achieved, this Cavs line-up will be given something of an overhaul, you can be sure of that.

Rumors persist that Clint Capela, the dynamic Houston Rockets forward, is ‘on the market’, and that might lead some to the conclusion that some kind of swap deal involving Love might be on the cards.

The Cavs would gain a 25-year-old who is a defensive beast while still offering plenty in attack: his offensive rebound stat (3.7 per game) marks him out very nicely compared to Love’s rather paltry 1.1.

It’s horses for courses, but swapping Love for Capela would free up resources to strengthen elsewhere while adding some attacking spark to an occasionally flaccid Cavs game.

But that contract… who would be willing to splash out the $30m per season just to match Love’s current deal in Cleveland?

That will surely prove to be the main stumbling block for the Trail Blazers or any other franchise with aspirations of landing the five-time All Star’s signature.