One of the most familiar trade narratives in Rip City is the possibility of Kevin Love coming back to Portland. But between money, situation, and the ever-changing NBA landscape, the stars have never quite aligned for such a move to be made.
Could that change this season? The possibility grew in likelihood this week when reports surfaced that Kevin Love prefers being traded to Portland if his current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, tries to move him.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor brought that development to the forefront with his piece detailing possible trades across the NBA with the trade deadline set for February 7th, and trade restrictions being lifted by Sunday, Dec. 15th.
Per O’Connor, Love “would prefer to play for his hometown Portland Trail Blazers according to multiple league sources.” KOC goes on:
The Blazers make perfect sense as a destination for Love; they need help for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum after the team has been decimated by injuries. Last week, Rodney Hood suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon, joining Jusuf Nurkic (broken leg) and Zach Collins (dislocated left shoulder) on the sideline. Nurkic will return this season, and Love would be a terrific frontcourt partner because of his perimeter shooting and playmaking ability. Portland could then play big upfront, which would be valuable in a series against a team with a bigger frontcourt, like the Lakers. Or, it could go with Love at center, which could be useful against the Rockets, who often size down with P.J. Tucker at center.
The Blazers have moveable expiring contracts with big man Hassan Whiteside at $27.1 Million and guard Kent Bazemore at $19.1 Million, and could possibly also target Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson, who is also on the trade block, per O’Connor.
The report also suggests the Blazers have interest in Danilo Gallinari from Oklahoma City, while their competition for Kevin Love could come from Denver and Phoenix.