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The Ringer: Cavaliers F Kevin Love a trade fit for the Suns

Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during a timeout during the first half of the game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on December 09, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

This was bound to come up before the February trade deadline.

With Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love on the trading block, enough links between what he brings and what the Phoenix Suns might want have led to a suggestion.

The Ringer’s Haley O’Shaughnessy says Phoenix is one of three trade destinations that make sense for the veteran power forward.

Phoenix has many pieces that a team starting completely over would be interested in, including two Johnsons, Tyler and Cameron, and draft picks that they may be more willing to part with than the other teams on this list. The Suns are a team of the future, one that is finally beginning to materialize; the Nuggets are used to contention by now, and the Blazers may be waving their contender status goodbye sooner than they’d like. It’s different in Phoenix, where all they’ve known for years is the draft.

To O’Shaughnessy’s point, Suns general manager James Jones and Love have a history playing with one another on the LeBron James-led Cavaliers teams from 2014-17, which included a 2016 NBA Championship.

After becoming Suns GM, Jones reshaped the roster last summer around winners. Even if the 31-year-old Love might be on the far side of Jones’ preferred age range, he could sell it to Love and Love would help Phoenix.

As the Suns fell off following a 7-4 start, the void in the paint stuck out with centers Deandre Ayton and Aron Baynes both missing time with injuries. Starting power forward Dario Saric’s minutes have dipped over the last few weeks, and he’s not played more than 22 minutes in the last six games.

Saric is a restricted free agent after the year anyhow.

Love certainly would upgrade the offense with volume three-point shooting (6.3 per game at 37%). He’s healthy and playing 31 minutes a night, averaging 16.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

Love could swing between forward and center, work seamlessly within Monty Williams’ offense. Sure.

He might be a limited defender, but it’s not like the Suns are doing great in that area, anyway.

Even at his declining age, Love makes Phoenix more legitimate, more fun and maybe a playoff contender if things click.

You can say all that without scoffing only if you leave out the financial details.

Trading any young pieces or draft picks to acquire a player who will command $31.3 million over the two seasons after this one and $28.9 million in 2022-23 would be a bold, if not outright irresponsible, move. Even for a team that desperately needs to challenge for a playoff spot soon — or come close to it.

The fits in Portland and Denver make more sense, as the former might as well bring back the Oregon native to see if they can salvage the Damian Lillard-C.J. McCollum era. The Nuggets can hide Love’s deficiencies and has some players on expiring deals that could make the acquisition work.

Anyone suitor, however, would have to get over that long-, long-, long-term contract.


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