Upon James’ return to the Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavs traded two No. 1 picks (Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett) for then Minnesota Timberwolves forward Love. While Wiggins still has the potential to become a star in the NBA, the trade move worked out for the Cavs with the ball club making four Finals and winning a championship since.
Love, however, has struggled with frequent injury problems recently. Love missed a large portion of the regular season with a hand injury, while also missing time in the Eastern Conference Finals while being evaluated for a concussion.
The 30-year-old averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in 59 regular season games, but struggled to replicate this form in the playoffs. Love only managed an average of 14.9 points in the post-season.
Of course, the Cavs have not always been so determined to keep Love. Last year, Love was offered to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George before the reported trade broke down.
Love, though, seems to favor a stay in Cleveland, although he acknowledges the unpredictable nature of the NBA off-season.
When asked if the 2018 Finals could be his last games as a Cavalier, Love had this to say.
“Anything is possible,” Love said. “People have been saying that for the past four years. I knew that question would come. But I like to be here. I’ve always said that. Always wanted to win here.”
Apart from attempting to re-sign James, the Cavs have plenty more to do in the off-season. Cleveland owns the No. 8 pick in the draft and will make their selection without knowing of James’ plans for next season, according to sources.
The Cavs are interested in adding a playmaker to their roster and believe they will be able to do so by choosing from a draft class that includes the likes of Collin Sexton, Michael Porter Jr., and Mikal Bridges among others.
Cleveland has also inquired about the availability of San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who prefers a trade to Los Angeles. Nevertheless, the Cavs simply do not possess the assets necessary to put together an attractive option for the Spurs.
The Cleveland organization would almost certainly need to shop Love in order to compete with the offers of other interested teams. And given the Cavs reluctance to part ways with their All-Star power forward, it is highly unlikely that Leonard would land in Cleveland.
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