Amid trade rumors, Love expects to be with Cavaliers 'for a long time'

NBA.com Staff

Championships can swing on what happens at or leading up to the NBA’s trade deadline. But that doesn’t mean it can’t qualify as the league’s silly season anyway, with rumors and speculation duking it out with semantics for the least reliable information.

Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers have been dealing with the inevitable annual clamor for teams to get better or, at least, do something. They were drawn into it earlier this week via the New York Knicks’ restlessness surrounding Carmelo Anthony, and on Friday addressed it more generally for how it pertained to Love staying or going.

2016-17 NBA Trade Tracker

With three weeks left before the deadline (Feb. 23), NBA general managers are going to peg their players somewhere on a scale from “untouchable” to “everyone’s in play.” Frankly, the most responsible GMs lean toward the latter, lest they pre-empt a deal that might knock off their and the fans’ proverbial socks. Keep in mind, too, that Cavaliers GM David Griffin has said before that no one on his roster – yes, in a blanket statement that even covered LeBron James, outrageous as that seems – is untouchable; bottom line, true or not, that’s what a conscientious team executive says.

Just in case. Because you never know.

Keep that in mind when sifting through this report from Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, as he kicks around the idea of the Cavs trading Love and Love’s thoughts on that:

The Cavs would trade Kevin Love this season if the right situation presented itself.

That might be music to the ears of Knicks fans and ABC executives who were already anticipating Love’s arrival at Madison Square Garden Saturday night, when the Cavs play Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The Love-for-Anthony trade rumor has been out there for a couple weeks and won’t go away. Multiple sources told cleveland.com that the Cavs are not interested in trading Love for Anthony, and indicated the general interest level in Anthony was low.

But while the Cavs are not shopping Love, sources said, the right deal could pry him out of Cleveland.

Since no deal is made in a vacuum, Vardon dutifully notes Love’s salary ($21.2 million this season, $46.7 guaranteed the next two seasons and a player option worth $25.6 million in 2019-20) for matching purposes. He cites Love’s All-Star performance this season (19.9 points, 11.0 rebounds) and the wrinkle of how Love matches up against Golden State, the team Cleveland most likely would face again in a third consecutive trip to the Finals.

But the theoretical vs. the real reared its head after that. Speculation vs. semantics.

… [A] deal for Love would have to make the Cavs better. Who they could acquire for Love and his huge contract that would actually improve the team is a small group. In fact, the Cavs would be more likely to seek multiple, gifted role players in return for Love who could play behind LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, instead of alongside them.

While the Cavs will not rule out trading Love (the only player entirely off limits, in any scenario, is James), several sources said it’s highly unlikely he’s moved by the Feb. 23 trade deadline.

“I expect to be here for a long time,” Love said Friday, when asked if he expected a trade.