PAGE: Cavs’ Love Leads Potential Big Names Still Likely To Be Traded
For the most part, NBA’s free-agent period is over as every big name has signed somewhere at this point unless you consider Dwight Howard still a big name (hint: He hasn’t been good in a few years). It’s likely that there won’t be much big news for a while around the league other than a possible Chris Paul trade from Oklahoma City to Miami and the Association releasing its 2019-20 schedule, which should happen within 2-3 weeks.
There’s still the chance of a big trade or two, though. For example, once a 2019 free agent officially signs a new contract, he is ineligible to be traded until at least Dec. 15 and perhaps even later than that if he meets certain criteria. The NBA’s CBA doesn’t allow a team to trade a player within three months of signing him. In addition, once a drafted player signs his rookie contract, he can’t be traded for 30 days.
With that said, here’s a look at some guys who could be moved either by the start of the season or the trade deadline, which is Feb. 6, 2020.
Kevin Love, Cavaliers
Love is under contract with Cleveland until 2022-23 at an average salary of around $30 million. Keep in mind that NBA trades have to have nearly matching salaries unless one team is well below the salary cap and can just absorb a salary. Right now, no team could come close to absorbing Love’s salary, and obviously only a contender would be interested in a 31-year-old stretch four. Love was limited to 22 games last season due to injury but was effective when he played, putting up 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. The Cavs have zero reason to keep him as they are in full-on rebuild and are tied for the lowest over/under win total for the coming season at BetOnline at 24.5.
The Portland Trail Blazers would make the most sense as Love would give them a Big 3 along with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Right now, the Blazers project to start young Zach Collins at power forward but he’d likely be more useful off the bench. This is a team that needs 3-point shooting outside of their stellar backcourt and Love can still do that. A trade of Love for new addition Hassan Whiteside would work financially – ESPN’s trade machine adds four wins to the Blazers with that move (currently at 45.5 at BetOnline) – and the Cavs could just buy out Whiteside. He’s an unrestricted free agent after next season. Boston and Golden State are also possibilities.
Bradley Beal, Wizards
Beal is the best player on this list by far, coming off his best season, posting career highs in minutes (36.9), points (25.6), rebounds (5.0), assists (5.5), free-throw attempts (5.5), steals (1.5) and blocks (1.7). He became the first player in franchise history to average at least 25 points, 5 rebounds and five assists. He also joined Kevin Durant and James Harden as the only players to total 2000+ points, 400+ assists and 400+ rebounds. Beal is also durable, playing all 82 games in back-to-back seasons.
It’s not a matter of if teams want Beal but whether the Wizards will trade him. They have him and nothing else with John Wall expected to miss the entire season due to injury and on the worst contract in American sports night now. Beal will make around $27 million this season and $28.7 million next. More than reasonable, and he’s only 26. Could the Clippers somehow form a Big 3 by adding Beal? A trade of Beal for Lou Williams, Mo Harkless and young guard Jerome Robinson would work. The Lakers would kill for Beal but just can’t make the numbers work. How about Beal to Denver for Gary Harris, Mason Plumlee and draft picks? Miami could get involved if the Heat don’t get Paul.
Kyle Lowry Or Serge Ibaka, Raptors
Toronto team president Masai Ujiri was originally lured from Denver to lead the Raptors through a rebuild but he never really got the chance because the team was too good. It might be time at some point this year to do so in the wake of Kawhi Leonard leaving for the Clippers. The Raptors aren’t winning the Eastern Conference again – currently +800 at BetOnline – much less an NBA title. Both Lowry, who shed his playoff demons this past season, and Ibaka are pending free agents. So is Marc Gasol, but he wouldn’t have as much value as these two.
Ujiri recently told TSN in Canada that he has no plans to trade anyone right now but will give this group an opportunity to “sink or swim’ before choosing a path. If the Raptors are middling around .500 in January/early February and some team needs a point guard or power forward/center, the Raptors could fetch a nice haul and start their new era built around Pascal Siakam.