Anthony Davis made waves last season when he requested a trade from the Pelicans midseason. So who will be the next star to try to make a move and land in a better situation? Kevin Love and Kyle Lowry are both veterans who could help a contender.
Chris Mannix: Kevin Love
Love is an appealing trade asset: a volume rebounding stretch four with a championship on his resume. The Cavs—in the early stages of a full scale rebuild—have little use for the 31-year old forward, and will field offers for Love this season. With the NBA more open than it has been in years, Love could be a difference maker in what is expected to be a tightly contested season.
Rob Mahoney: Kevin Love
Entertaining as it might be to galaxy brain our way to another conclusion, Love is the best player on a clearly awful team without much incentive to stick around. Interested suitors around the league are already preparing for the possibility that Love might hit the trade block. The biggest variable involved is whether Love would rather play an active role in the process, as Anthony Davis did, or coast out his Cavs tenure until the team decides the timing and terms of an acceptable deal.
Jeremy Woo: Kevin Love
While Love would have been foolish to turn down the massive extension he got from Cleveland, which pays him about $120 million over the next four seasons, the arc of his career was never going to fall in lockstep with that of his franchise. Now 31 years old, still in terrific shape, and with plenty to offer a playoff-caliber roster, it feels like a matter of time before Love lands elsewhere. Watching youngsters Collin Sexton and Darius Garland hog possessions isn’t what he signed up for, to be sure. With Brad Beal now off the market, the shortlist of available stars is, well, shorter, and Love’s contract is hefty, but not Chris Paul-level prohibitive for an ambitious team. Finding consistent outside shooting in the frontcourt isn’t easy, and Love comes with a solid complementary skill set and Finals experience on top of that. With three years left on his deal, he should offer value to a contender, and the Cavs—still in tank territory—are smart enough to see the writing on the wall.
Rohan Nadkarni: Kyle Lowry
The Bradley Beal extension has made Lowry the most attractive guard on the potential trade market, and I think he gets moved for a number of reasons. For teams looking to acquire help, Lowry is a perfect complement to a ball-dominant superstar, and now he comes with championship experience. His own recent extension means he won’t just be a one-year rental, so any team parting with assets can take comfort in the fact that he’ll stick around for at least another season, or maybe become a trade chip again for his new club. As for the Raptors, they have a lot of attractive pieces to sell off, and moving Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka can help them set up their core around Pascal Siakam. By extending Lowry for another season, Toronto can ask for more in return for him. And because Beal is off the market, teams may be more desperate to make a move, which should ultimately benefit the Raptors. Everyone kind of wins!