Kevin Love landing spots: Lakers, Knicks, Warriors, Suns, Heat among teams that make varying levels of sense
Kevin Love is reportedly close to a buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers. When it’s official, Love will be a free agent with no shortage of suitors.
NOTE: Everything you’re about to read about how Love, in particular as a three-point shooter, can still be useful is only true if he’s healthy. He broke his thumb back in November and struggled to shoot when he returned. Largely because of this, he fell out of the Cleveland rotation, and recently he has not played at all.
But the teams will do their research. They won’t sign him if he can’t shoot. Assuming he still has the game, below we’ll look at seven teams, in no particular order, that will make different levels of sense as Love’s landing point.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have fixed their shooting deficiencies by adding D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley, and to a lesser extent Mo Bamba, but they still need every capable shooter they can find to put the floor around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. .
The Lakers have made just 10.4 three-pointers per game this season, the second-lowest in the league. Love, who is just behind a 39 percent shooting from deep over six attempts per game this season, helps that, and we know he’s comfortable in the system under LeBron as a shooter/rebounder after their combined success in Cleveland. .
New York Knicks
The Knicks could use a big shot and they have a spot on the roster. Jalen Brunson could really use a shooter like Love. The Knicks are a team that hits 3 a lot, but don’t confuse that with a good 3-point shooting team; only six teams connect from the depth with the worst percentage.
Possible problem here? Tom Thibodeau loves defense and tends to rely on his best players. Will Love, sitting closer to the deeper part of the bench, get enough minutes to satisfy him in New York?
Golden State Warriors
Not trading for Love during his heyday was one of the best moves the Warriors never made, choosing instead to stick with Clay Thompson and a dynasty followed. Clearly, Love is nowhere near the player he was back then, but he still makes sense for the Warriors, who used the stretched big Nemanja Belica well in their championship last season.
The Warriors generally lack quality depth. They’d like a better defenseman than Love, who could be seen as something of a less athletic Jamichal Green at the end of Golden State’s potential playoff rotation, but Green barely stuck. He and Love can be a game of the game, like who has the hot hand.
The Suns are loaded, but like any team that trades in a few rotations for a superstar, they lack depth right now. Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and Jay Crowder, three big parts of what they’ve become in the past few years, are gone, and Love is introducing a veteran NBA champion who can fill bench lineups.
Plus, you know Love is comfortable in the big late-round playoff games that the Suns expect to play in May and hopefully June. He’s a proven, role-playing winner with a history of backing superstar efforts, of which the Suns now have two in Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. Chris Paul makes great use of a guy like Love.
The Hawks really need a three-point shot. Especially from a big man, since neither Clint Capela nor Onyeka Okongwu fit that bill, and John Collins, who became an underdog on Atlanta’s offense, fell off a cliff as a three-point shooter – down 36 percent last season and 40 percent the two seasons before. to less than 25 percent this year.
The Hawks rely entirely on Trae Young and Dejount Murray, who build from either pick-and-roll or isolation. In isolation, Love provides spacing and a capable shooter when these guys break the defense and pick-and-rolls can turn into pick-and-rolls with Love.
The Hawks have the fewest 3-pointers in the league as a percentage of total shots, according to Clearing the Glass, and have the sixth-worst attempt from long range. In total, they make just 10.5 three-pointers per game, the third-lowest in the league. Love makes a lot of sense to complete the second squad with one of Young or Murray.
Shams Charania from The Athletic, who broke the news of Love’s pending buyout, noted that The Heat were among the first candidates to sign Love. It would make sense.
The Heat lost PJ Tucker in fourth over the summer, and while Love obviously doesn’t give Tucker defensive value, he’s a threat to open space who could also make an impact as a setter passer in a drive-and-pink system. » Miami. like Tucker did.
The Heat love to run triples, but their 33.4 percent shooting this season is the third-worst in the league. Love refers to this, as he does to all these commands.
Bulls of Chicago
I mentioned earlier that the Lakers have the second-lowest three-pointers per game in the league. The only team that earns even less is the Bulls. It’s worth noting that Chicago is one of the potential landing spots for Russell Westbrook, who was Love’s teammate at UCLA.
The Bulls, lacking frontcourt depth, did nothing at the trade deadline and that would have been at least a minor move that might have generated some excitement, although I would caution against the idea that Love would be a real needle. . the engine of a rather flawed Chicago team.