Last week, a discussion-starter trade sending Kevin Love to the Portland Trail Blazers was proposed. Love’s Oregon roots and the fact that he plays a position of need have made Love-to-Portland hypothetical trades common in recent years, with many writers putting their own spin on what to include.
However, Mike Richman recently reported on the Locked On Blazers podcast that the Blazers “at least made phone calls” about Love last summer. Portland’s almost $13 million trade exception generated from the Allen Crabbe trade in 2017 was set to expire last July, so the Blazers called around the league to see if they could land a big-money player, Richman says. Ultimately, though, Cleveland turned Portland away from the possibility of Love — the Cavs then signed him to four-year, $120 million extension.
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Here Richman’s detailing of the Love talks (this starts at about the 4:45 mark of the podcast):
“Last summer, the Blazers went into the offseason with very little of value. They had a bunch of big contracts with multiple years left. They didn’t have many enticing young players to make trades, they did not have a high draft pick to do things. But the thing they did have was a fairly large trade exception that was going to expire. And they spent much of the early part of the offseason calling around to teams trying to get them to give away big contract money so they could absorb it with that trade exception. And the Blazers were willing to pay a fat luxury tax and figure it out. One of the teams that they called last summer was the Cleveland Cavaliers… At that time last summer, the Cavs told the Blazers they did not want to make that trade.”
With Love starting his new big-money deal, and the Blazers no longer owning a big-money trade exception, it’s hard to see any kind of Love-centered deal becoming a reality other than on ESPN’s Trade Machine. But Portland’s previous interest in the Cavs’ center is nonetheless noteworthy.
You can listen to more of the Locked On Blazers podcast here.