The single hottest story of the NBA’s 2018 free agency period will be the fate of NBA-MVP LeBron James. The Cavaliers forward becomes a free agent in July and, as befits the best player to ever lace up sneakers, his options are wide open. Despite desperate fantasizing, the Portland Trail Blazers have virtually no chance of landing the NBA Finals magnate, but according to Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, they’d provide a fantastic landing spot for fellow forward Kevin Love should LeBron depart Cleveland.
Portland is not the only candidate on Favale’s list. He cites the Lakers, Spurs, Jazz, and Wizards as well. A straight-up deal (or a three-way with the 76ers) with guard CJ McCollum as the bait might get the job done for Portland, earning them not only Love but three-point shooting veteran Kyle Korver. Favale admits it’s a risky move, but suggests the Blazers could benefit in a couple ways:
Love nullifies the need for them to re-sign both—or even one of—Ed Davis and Jusuf Nurkic (restricted). He might find new life as a more stationary presence in head coach Terry Stotts’ defense and pairs nicely on offense with Portland’s other primary frontcourt options (Al-Farouq Aminu, Zach Collins and Moe Harkless).
Korver doesn’t replace McCollum, but his penchant for living off the ball makes it easier for the Blazers to incorporate the ball-dominant Evan Turner. Love takes care of the No. 2 juice behind Damian Lillard, and his own bystander experience in Cleveland should translate to better floor balance around Portland’s All-Star point man.
Love scored 17.6 ppg on 45.8% shooting, 41.5% from distance for Cleveland last season. He makes $24.1 million and $25.6 million over the next two years, the last season on a player option.
Korver will earn $7.5 million in the coming season with a non-guaranteed $7.5 million option in 2019-20. He scored 9.2 ppg on 43.6% shooting from the three-point arc, where he does almost all of his damage.
McCollum is owed between $25.7 million and $29.3 million over the next three seasons, all guaranteed. He scored 21.4 ppg on 44.3% shooting, 39.7% from the arc last year.
Would you trade McCollum for Love and Korver if you were the Blazers? Weigh in below.