Brooklyn atop Kevin Love's list of preferred destinations
It's been two weeks since the Brooklyn Nets were eliminated from the playoffs and eyes have already shifted to a pivotal offseason.
General Manager Sean Marks will have several tough decisions, but it appears his biggest star has already gone to work recruiting new faces to Brooklyn.
According to a source close to Kevin Love's camp, Love and Kevin Durant will be rooming together during Olympic training camp in Las Vegas. He also added that the Nets are at the top of Love's list in the event he agrees to a buyout with Cleveland.
Love was visibly frustrated in Cleveland this season. He faced backlash following an April loss in Toronto in which he committed an egregious turnover on an inbounds pass and walked to the bench mid-play after getting beat on defense.
A Love-Cavs breakup has been looming since LeBron James left the team in 2018. It is no surprise that Brooklyn would be a desirable destination. Love subsequently bought a waterfront apartment in Tribeca the same summer James left Cleveland and has long desired to live in New York full-time.
“When I was 18 years old, I had written down in a notebook that I wanted to own an apartment and live in New York by the time I was 30,” Love said via Architectural Digest.
Love is 32-years-old and has struggled to stay healthy in recent years. He appeared in 25 games this season while battling a calf injury, averaging 12.2 PPG and 7.4 RPG.
The five-time all-star could undoubtedly help the Nets as a scoring punch off the bench, something they desperately missed in these playoffs. Love can still operate as a high-level floor spacer, shooting 36.5% on 6.2 three-point attempts per game this season.
Critics of a potential Love signing will point to him as a defensive liability. However, the veteran still possesses a strong frame and high IQ that serve him well as a post defender. Brooklyn would use the 32-year-old similarly to how they deployed Blake Griffin, another star who has declined athletically.
Love is owed $60M over the next two seasons and it has been reported that Cleveland is actively shopping the big man. The Pelicans, 76ers, Heat, Clippers and Trail Blazers have been linked as potential suitors. Given his contract, Cleveland would have to attach a draft pick and/or a young player to move Love. Giving up draft capital or young assets doesn’t make sense for the Cavs given their timeline.
This leaves two scenarios: Cleveland either holds onto Love and looks to trade him as an expiring contract next season, or they accommodate him in a buyout in which he gives back a portion of his salary.
Both seem plausible, but given Love’s frustrations and reports that Cleveland is actively shopping him, it would be surprising if he is on the team next season. A buyout could be the likeliest outcome.
Love and Durant will spend the next month together competing for USA Basketball. Sights will be set on a gold medal, but Durant may be in the process of recruiting yet another former star to Brooklyn.