Trades, Trades, Trades
Kevin Love wants out of #Believeland. Love is slapping chairs and chucking basketballs at teammates. He ignored the mere pretense of defense for a while. He has since got his act together, but the damage has been done, though maybe not the exact damage he was expecting. It appears his reputation took a larger hit than he anticipated and for now, the pressure he applied to Koby Altman and the Cavaliers front office, has not lead to a trade. The Cavaliers, I imagine, are trying to avoid dumping Love without receiving a meaningful return, or worse, giving up assets to get off his expensive deal. The stark reality for Kevin Love is this: he’s a modern center who lacks the ability to protect the rim—a necessity at the center position. He’s playing out the final four seasons (including this one) of a bloated contract that no other sane general manager would have signed him to. He can play either the power forward or center position on offense, he can play neither position well on defense. He’s no longer an efficient low-post scorer and his injury history is longer than the Odyssey. If age is only a number, in this case it’s one of a long list of numbers preventing the Cavs from securing a useful return for Kevin Love. In spite of all that, here’s a trade idea:
This is essentially a salary dump for the Cavs.
Maybe you could squint hard and talk yourself into the “value” of Frank Kaminsky’s shooting, but he’s a career 34.9 percent shooter from three—about league average—and he’s only had one season significantly above league average in 2017-18 when he shot 38 percent. Although Kaminsky looked like an improved player this season before a right patella stress fracture sideline him, his poor rim finishing, defensive issues, and unspectacular shooting leave a lot to be desired.
Tyler Johnson is matching salary. He isn’t very good anymore.
Again, this is a bottom of the barrel deal for the Cavs. Maybe two second-round picks allow them to save face? The deal would solidify the Suns’ power forward rotation, at least offensively. Love’s shooting would be a huge addition to the Suns’ attack, making Devin Booker’s dynamism even more…dynamic. Kevin Love is shooting 37.1 percent from three and 40.4 percent on catch-and- shoot threes this season.
There are other, similar iterations of this deal, but anyway you slice it, the 76ers are capable of trading for Jordan McRae. McRae is only making $1.6 million this year and the Sixers have plenty of second-round picks to grease the wheels. The Wizards are in the middle of a rebuild and should be in full asset acquisition mode. The Sixers will receive the more favorable of the Nets or Knicks second-round pick in the 2020 draft—a significant trade chip for a Wizards front office looking to infuse the roster with cheaper, exciting young talent.
McRae has been a solid scorer this season and filled in admirably while the Wizards were decimated by injuries. For the season, he’s averaging 13.8 points, 2.9 assists, and 3.5 rebounds, while shooting 43.4 percent from the field, 42.5 from three, and 78.1 percent from the line. McRae would be a shot creation and shooting upgrade in the second unit for Philadelphia.
I don’t foresee the Sixers giving up a first-rounder for McRae and given that McRae will be a free agent at season’s end, I don’t foresee them punting on Zhaire Smith in this particular deal either. Nevertheless, the fading remains of Sam Hinkie’s time in Philadelphia may once again help this franchise improve.
If we assume that Irving failed to include Joe Harris as a core piece of the Nets championship run because he was expressing some sort of disrespect or dislike, let’s see where we’re sending Joe Harris.
The serious part of this trade is that the Nets need defensive help. None of Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, or DeAndre Jordan are stellar defenders at this point in their careers. That’s four of the top seven players. Adding the shooting and defensive versatility that Covington brings might help bolster their defense, improving their chances in the playoffs.
The silly part of this trade proposal is three-fold. The Wolves probably want more for Covington, namely a first-round pick; and since Covington is under contract for two more years after this season, the Wolves need not be in any rush to move him. Secondly, Harris’ off-ball movement, selflessness, and team-first toughness would be sorely missed in Brooklyn. He’s a huge part of the culture that attracted both Kyrie and KD to town in the first place. Lastly, if the Nets are going to cater to every one of Irving’s fleeting whims, especially when it comes to roster construction—players are notoriously biased and shortsighted in their talent evaluations—they are going to find themselves in hot water rather quickly.
As I mentioned before, the Sixers have a barrel load of second-round picks. The Kings are ever oscillating between Kangz ineptitude and new era Kings good vibes, but they still appear to be buffering, one might say. The picks allow them to keep building for the future without sacrificing much longterm flexibility. Bjelica is better than Scott, but Scott makes a little less money and he’s only under contract for one more season after this year. The 76ers are on a championship hunt, they’ve got a weird team, multiple second-round picks, and the win-now pressure that could see them trade a first-round pick. I would be surprised to see them stand pat this trade season.