Kevin Love: will he leave Cleveland? Could he sign with the Utah Jazz?

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For years, Kevin Love has been a player at least a decent-sized segment of Utah Jazz fans have wanted on the team. Well, Love is in the news right now as he will be competing for Team USA as they try to win a gold medal at the Olympics.

Rumors are circulating that he and the Cleveland Cavaliers will agree to the terms of a buyout of his massive contract (we’ll talk about that in a moment) and that Love will then join a rival team.

Jazz could certainly fall into the category of “contending teamsâ€, so is it time for them to try and acquire Love?

The case of love

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when jazz fans started pining for Love, but it came at a time when he was still a top NBA player (he was named an All-Star in 2011, 2012 , 2014, 2017 and 2018) as a “stretch four†player and the Jazz launched Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert together on the front line.

The Golden State Warriors had really fundamentally changed the way teams viewed the “four” (“power forward”) position, and jazz fans wanted more shooting and play than Favors could offer, which is what they are. areas in which Love excelled, in addition to being a great rebounder.

To boot, Love has a home in Park City and once called it his favorite place in the United States, and he grew up in rich Lake Oswego, Oregon.

“Wait, does a star NBA player love Utah?” Realize it, Jazz management! was the essential composition of a common refrain at the time among fans who wanted Love.

Well that never happened and then Love signed a four-year, $ 120 million contract extension with the Cavaliers that began in the 2019-20 season. The prevailing idea at the time was that a rebuilding Cavaliers team could eventually use their huge salary in a trade to get more promising players with smaller contracts, but Love only played 81 games over the course of the years. last two seasons, and his contract is now an albatross.

A redemption

At this point, Love and the Cavaliers agreeing to a buyout of their contract looks more and more like what’s going to happen. In a buyout, the team surrenders the player and both parties agree on an amount in the remaining contract that the player must surrender.

The player then goes on waivers for 48 hours. During those two days, any team in the league is eligible to pick up the player, but the problem is that the team has to pay the full salary on the contract that existed before the player was released, and l The team cannot exceed the salary cap to do so.

Love would be a classic buyout candidate, as these players are often good players who are part of bad teams. So it follows that these players usually sign with a good team. Already, Love is linked with teams such as the Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors.

The case against Love to the Jazz

While Love would probably have gotten into the core of Jazz very well a few years ago, the team has completely transformed and doesn’t really need what Love has to offer, and their flaws are the same as those of Jazz. now.

Specifically, the Jazz no longer need a “stretch fourâ€, as their two starting forwards, Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale, are good outside shooters. Truth be told, Love at this point in his career is more of a stretch five or a cross, as he probably can’t defend the 4s anymore.

You could argue that the Jazz now need a five-stretch, but the kind of little center with a shooting ability that they need is one that’s athletic enough to defend on the perimeter, and Love can’t. do it almost efficiently enough, to put it probably too nicely.

Maybe if Love wants to come to Jazz so badly that he’s willing to take a very small amount of money as a veteran’s minimum, he might be worth using a spot on the roster, but it’s okay. he commands more money than that, the Jazz is probably best served looking at other players during the free agency period in August.

The bottom line

Love could have been a great choice for Jazz a few years ago playing alongside Gobert, but Love himself, Jazz, and the NBA have evolved to the point that a marriage just doesn’t make much sense. at this stage.

Never say never, but from that point of view, it would be a big surprise if both sides agreed to a deal.


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