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Why Kevin Love to Portland wouldn't be worth it for Trail Blazers

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Why Kevin Love to Portland wouldn't be worth it for Trail Blazers

The words Portland and Kevin Love seem like two things destined to collide. 

Uttered in the same breath, used in the same sentence... and it’s not because people have suddenly realized that Love hails from the Portland area.

Nope, the Lake Oswego native has been discussed in various trade rumors, and even more so now that he showed his frustration over the past few days about the direction of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Which, by the way, Love has since apologized for his behavior, which he deemed as “childish.”

Thursday, NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh discussed three potential teams that he believes would be the best fit for Love’s services. 

1. The Portland Trail Blazers

2. The Toronto Raptors

3. The Phoenix Suns

So, why the Blazers at No. 1? 

Haberstroh believes now, more than ever, Portland needs to take a risk while Damian Lillard is in his prime.  

Plus, Portland is “desperate for bigs.”

Haberstroh wrote:

 

Love’s contract seems to be the first roadblock. Suitors will have to absorb a deal that will pay Love an average of $30.5 million for another three seasons after this current one. For many, that’s a steep price to pay for a player on the wrong side of 30. Also, teams have to match Love’s current salary number of $28.9 million in any deal, either by bundling smaller deals together or swapping out an equally large salary.... 

 

To me, bringing the Portland native home is the most likely scenario. After inking Damian Lillard to a supermax extension this past summer, the injury-riddled Blazers are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since Lillard’s rookie season, a steep dropoff from last season’s Western Conference finals. As Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes told me on last week’s Habershow podcast, this isn’t exactly what Lillard signed up for. 

At 16-22, the Blazers are desperate for bigs with Jusuf Nurkic (broken leg) still sidelined and Zach Collins facing potentially season-ending shoulder surgery. Carmelo Anthony, though he’s played admirably after a year away from the game, is not a long-term solution. 

The Blazers are sitting on two lottery tickets that could go up in smoke if they aren’t used in the next month. Hassan Whiteside’s $27 million expiring contract and Kent Bazemore’s $19.3 million expiring contract can be traded for star players on teams that may be looking to clean up their cap sheet.

Haberstroh also discussed that Love could help free up some attention from Lillard and McCollum.

All of the above is true. Moving Carmelo Anthony over to play more of three spot and Love at the four could work nicely for the rest of the season.

And, it could work in the future; however, the Blazers would have to make a decision on sticking with Zach Collins as their starting power forward or going with the veteran in Love once Collins is healthy enough to play again. The Trail Blazers seem to be all-in on Collins as part of the future of their franchise. Could that change? Maybe. But, at a huge cost.

With the amount of money Love is owed, which is a ton, does Portland really want to take that much of a risk on a guy who has become injury prone? Haven’t they dealt with enough injuries this season? Wouldn't they rather dig in with a younger, less expensive with tremendous potential?

If they do bring Love aboard, you don't want a guy making $30 million coming off your bench or sidelined by injury. 

And then there is the question of Love really wants.

Yes, Love would fit into Terry Stotts’ system nicely (who doesn't)--  a big that can space the floor, but would he be happy in Portland

Sure, he’s not happy in Cleveland, but there have been rumblings that he’s never been a very proactive guy in saying he wants to move back and play for his hometown team.

Also, with so much speculation surrounding Love to Portland, doesn’t it make more sense for Neil Olshey to throw a curveball? I mean, who was expecting the Jusuf Nurkic trade? Olshey has his own way of doing things and look how well the Nurk trade has turned out.

So yes, Love to Portland may look like an obvious choice, but will it actually happen?

Hopefully for Love and Blazers fans’ sake, everyone will know well before the trade deadline of February 6th. 

Read more from Haberstroh HERE.

31 going on 13: Kevin Love responds to his child-like behavior

31 going on 13: Kevin Love responds to his child-like behavior

Something is going on with Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. 

The Cavs are riding a four-game losing streak that started with a 20-point loss at the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 31. Since then, Love has been seen slapping the leather chairs on the bench, flailing his arms up in the air at teammates and a rumored outburst at GM Koby Altman.

Love responded on his Instagram with a photo and caption explaining his side of it all:

And on Tuesday, Love addressed the media for the first time since his outbursts:

“I was frustrated and let my emotions get the best of me. It was on New Years Eve in Toronto. We were down 15, 17 points heading into half and that carried over into the second half. I wasn’t acting like a 31-year-old, I was acting like a 13-year-old. I ended up hitting the seat, screaming into the towel, and got into it with coach saying ‘take me out so I can collect myself.’

Obviously this has been extremely tough, especially with what our record indicates. It was a conversation that we had but nothing about any blowup, there was no blowup, there was no me talking about how much money I have. I’m an a**hole but I’m not that big of an a**hole.”

The reason this is relevant to Portland, is the NBA trade deadline coming up in a month. Will the Trail Blazers make a roster move and will that involve the Portland-native Kevin Love? The Trail Blazers (15-22) have a shortage of big men with injuries to Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Skal Labissier, leaving just Hassan Whiteside and two-way player Moses Brown active on the roster.

[RELATED]: Did Cavaliers latest move pave the way for Kevin Love trade?

In his 11th NBA season, Love is averaging 16.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

Haynes: "[Lillard] didn’t sign up to be on a team like this... there will be a move made"

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Haynes: "[Lillard] didn’t sign up to be on a team like this... there will be a move made"

We are exactly one month away from the NBA trade deadline.

We repeat, one month!

As the rumor mill continues to churn, the Trail Blazers trade chatter is heating up.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports caught up with NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh on the latest Habershow Podcast to discuss the latest surrounding the Blazers' trade rumors.

Haynes has no doubt the Trail Blazers, who are currently 15-22, will make a move.

With two valuable expiring contracts, that’s to be expected. 

“There will be a move made, for sure,” Haynes said. “It’s hard for me to believe that Hassan Whiteside and Kent Bazemore will still be there past the trade deadline.”

As Haberstroh discussed, Bazemore and Whiteside’s expiring contracts are worth a lot with Bazemore at 19 million and Whiteside at 27 million.

Haynes discussed how the Blazers are constructed at the moment is not what Portland is looking for with Damian Lillard in his prime. 

They just expire and that’s why it’s hard for me to believe that they’ll be on the roster past that deadline. A move will be made. This is Dame’s spot. He just signed his super max this past summer. He didn’t sign up to be on a team like this. Nobody thought this was going to be the team. The front office, it’s their call now. It’s their play. I know Terry Stotts is going to get a lot of heat for what’s been going on this season, and likely so. He’s the coach. He’s got to take some blame, but I think we all see flaws in this roster. – Chris Haynes from Yahoo! Sports

Does Haynes believe the Trial Blazers could land Kevin Love?

Maybe.

“I don’t know if Kevin Love is the call,” Haynes said. “I don’t know if they end up getting him. I just have a hard time looking at the assets that Portland has and it’s hard for me to believe that that’s enough to get Kevin Love. But stranger things have happened.”

The Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider does, however, think the Trail Blazers may have enough to offer Cleveland if they really wanted to go out and land the All-Star big man.

“I believe they have the assets, and I don’t believe they’ll deal Anfernee [Simons] and Zach [Collins]. He [Neil Olshey] loves that kid [Anfernee]. I look at Whiteside too. The deal is attractive, expiring deals, but then you got to go in there with that young roster, with those young, impressionable guys and Cleveland could definitely make a move after that trade if they wanted to. I don’t know if he’s [Kevin Love] the right fit -- locker room wise -- with those guys even for half a season or less than that. But Zach and Anfernee, if those guys are in play, and I have a hard time believing they are, you could make a case that Portland has the best package to offer Cleveland out there.”

Of course, there has already been a lot made about Love potentially coming back to play in his hometown of Portland, and he has made it known he wants out of Cleveland, that’s for sure. 

But, does he want to be trading to Rip City? Dwight Jaynes doesn’t think so.  

If not Love, then who could be another potential target?

Here’s a short list of other potential top targets that teams are rumored to be open to dealing before the trade deadline:

-- Pistons Andre Drummond

-- Grizzlies Andre Iguodala

-- Thunder Steven Adams

(Or really anyone on the OKC roster)

-- Wizards Davis Bertans

-- Kings Dewayne Dedmon

-- Knicks Marcus Morris

Don’t expect any move to happen right away.

It sounds like teams are weighing their options and won’t pull the trigger until closer to the February 6th deadline.

But as always we are continuing to keep our finger on the pulse. Keep it locked here at NBCSNW.com. 

LISTEN TO ENTIRE HABERSHOW PODCAST WITH CHRIS HAYNES HERE: 

Kevin Love wants to play in Portland? I want to hear that from him

Kevin Love wants to play in Portland? I want to hear that from him

Rumors are circulating once again that Kevin Love is urging the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him. And, it seems, every time those stories are written, it’s said that he would prefer a trade to the Trail Blazers.

Portland has the ability to make such a trade, using the expiring contract of Hassan Whiteside.

But I’m not entirely sure where that information about Love's desire is coming from. As far as I know, the former Lake Oswego resident has never publicly said that. And until I hear it come from his mouth, I’m not buying it.

In fact, people I know who are familiar with his situation, or close to the Cavaliers, have told me that they have not heard any particular wish from him to return to his hometown.

Many NBA players, in fact, do not desire a return home.

I have no idea what Love truly wants, but I’m not going to fall for unsubstantiated rumors of what he thinks or desires.

And if I were in his situation and had spent my career playing in Minnesota and Cleveland, I would be wishing for a warm-weather city.

And if I were a team interested in trading for him, I would certainly make sure he was all-in on coming to my franchise.

 Particularly in his hometown, which can be a touchy situation.

Kevin Love sure seems like a guy who is going to get traded soon

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Kevin Love sure seems like a guy who is going to get traded soon

Who knows what will happen if Kevin Love isn’t traded soon.

Saturday during Cleveland’s shootaround, Love expressed how he is not happy about the direction of the team with “an emotional outburst toward general manager Koby Altman,” that’s according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.  

Charania also reported that Love was screaming that there is “no feel here,” as the Cavaliers have accelerated their rebuild year. Love’s outburst came in front of teammates, the Cavs coaching staff and members of the front office.  

Saturday’s blowup is no surprise.

Love has been showing his frustration with his situation this season, but as yet to publicly ask for a trade.

If he were to ask for one, however, it's been reported he'd prefer to land in his hometown team of the Portland Trail Blazers.

However, he did share a public post to his Instagram after Saturday's shootaround. 

Love’s caption read: “Mood” with a Joker photo.

View this post on Instagram

Mood.

A post shared by Kevin Love (@kevinlove) on

The 31 year old is averaging 16.6 points and 10.5 boards in 29 games this season. Cleveland is now 10-25 overall after losing to the Thunder Saturday night, 121-106.

My how things have changed since Love signed his contract extension in July of 2018.

During his press conference following his new deal, Love expressed how he hopes his name won’t come up in trade rumors anymore.

James Rapien of Cleland’s 92.3 The Fan reposted the 2018 interview to Twitter.

This is where I wanted to be, I’ve said that all along. --Kevin Love in July of 2018

Well, that has to make Cavs fans cringe.

So, now the question is when will the trade happen?

It’s gotta happen, right? 

And, how many Trail Blazers fans are still hoping he will be traded to play in his hometown? 

Love fits the profile of a player Olshey has targeted in the past: A player who has fallen out of favor with his team and is looking for another chance. 

He's in the first year of his 4-year, $120 million contract extension. Love’s contract was set to expire at the end of this season with a player option for 2019-2020. The Lake Oswego native will be under contract until 2022-‘23. While a contract this size and this early into it may seem like a tough pill to swallow, Olshey's preference would be to trade the team's expiring contracts for ones with longer terms. 

Things seem like they're starting to add up...

Grab your popcorn things might get worse before they get better for Love and it may be to Portland's benefit. 

​​​​​​​

Does Jordan Clarkson trade open door for Kevin Love to Portland?

Does Jordan Clarkson trade open door for Kevin Love to Portland?

The Cleveland Cavaliers traded Jordan Clarkson to the Utah Jazz on Monday in return for Donte Exum and two second-round draft picks in a move that surprised many around the NBA. 

Clarkson has been a prolific bench scorer for the Cavaliers this season, while Exum is having the worst year of his career and has never come close to the expectations set by being the fifth overall pick in 2014. 

The move proved three things to us:
1) The Jazz are serious and gearing up to be a real postseason threat.
2) The Cavs have let the first domino fall, showing their intent to go into full sell mode.
3) If the Blazers hope to make the postseason and go on a run, they need to make moves. The teams around them are, and they can't afford to be left behind. 

One potential move for Portland may have had the door open just a little wider. That is to say, with the Cavs dealing Clarkson, have they opened the door for Kevin Love to come home?

Love has long been linked to the Blazers, and Portland is in desperate need of help at power forward. The one hangup we have been hearing is that the asking price for Love is too high. But the Clarkson trade hints that Cleveland may be willing to give up some players for less than their actual value. 

Exum is nowhere near the talent of Clarkson, and him coupled with second-round picks was all it took to snatch Clarkson from Cleveland. The move didn't even offer Cleveland that much financial relief. Clarkson has a $13.4 million expiring deal, while Exum is making  $9.6 million and is under contract through next season as well. 

To sum it up: Cleveland sent 14.6 points per game Utah for $3.8 million in cap relief and some picks. Those in pursuit of Love have to be salivating. 

Kevin Love is making $28.9 million this season, so the only financial way you pull the trade off is by using Hassan Whiteside's $27.1 million contract. That would give the Cavs a big expiring deal, and if you throw in a pick it could be enough to grab Love. But given how well Whiteside has been playing, it might be Cleveland that has to throw a pick to Portland. 

Love may not be the player fans want, but Cleveland has shown he is there for the taking. Portland needs to do something to help salvage the season and keep hopes alive for a deep playoff run. That something could be a former Oregonian looking to come home. 
 

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers loss to the Cavs

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers loss to the Cavs

Damian Lillard returned to the lineup to play his first game with Carmelo Anthony, but even the face of the franchise couldn't help stop the Blazers losing streak. 

Hassan Whiteside was ruled out prior to tipoff, and his absence was seen in the box score. Cleveland outrebounded Portland 51-38, with many of those being offensive rebounds leading to second-chance points. 

Jordan Clarkson sparked the Cavs off the bench, scoring a season high-28 points while shooting six for six from beyond the arc. 

On the Blazers side, Lillard scored a team-high 23 points in his return and nearly willed the team to a late comeback, but it wasn't meant to be. 

Portland falls to the Cavs, 110-104, dropping its fourth game in a row. 

QUOTABLES: 

Coach Stotts on where the Blazers stand:

Look at the record. That kind of explains it. 

CJ McCollum on the message to fans, staying the course:

Real fans will still be fans and those that ain't won't. We're not losing on purpose. We'd like to win too. 

Damian Lillard on facing adversity:

You all probably don't want to hear it, but there's such a long way to go... I think our team understands that there are certain things we're not doing well enough to win games. But we really do believe, as a group. that this is going to turn around. 

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Damian Lillard says he wasn’t playing through pain in his return, just 'could've shot the ball much better'

Blazers are running out of excuses after another hard-to-believe loss 


 

Damian Lillard says he wasn’t playing through pain in his return, just 'could've shot the ball much better'

Damian Lillard says he wasn’t playing through pain in his return, just 'could've shot the ball much better'

CLEVELAND – After missing two straight games with back spasms, Damian Lillard made his return to the court on Saturday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  

Lillard was quick to explain after Saturday’s 110-104 loss how he wasn’t playing through any discomfort, but rather, he just missed shots.

“It’s not the first time I didn’t make a lot of shots,” Lillard said. “I wasn’t in pain. Obviously I haven’t played in two games.”

I think I could’ve shot the ball much better, but there’s night’s like that… I didn’t play good enough to win, I think that’s all that matters.

The Blazers All-Star point guard scored seven straight points from the 4:02 mark of the fourth quarter to the 2:33 mark, and it looked like Lillard was going to show the world his crunch-time magic once again by willing the Blazers to a comeback win.

But that was not the case this time. 

We’re not trending in the way we want to be as far as winning games, and taking advantage of opportunities against teams that have the same record as us, or teams we should come in and beat, but it’s a marathon. We’ve also been 10 games under .500 before. That doesn’t mean we’re going to be successful with that again, but we’ve done it before. We’ve gone on double-digit win streaks multiple times, and I think because of those things we’re not afraid of being down.

In his first game back, Lillard shot 7-of-20 from the field, 4-of-9 from deep, and 5-of-6 from the free throw line to finish with 23 points.

Even though Lillard said he wasn’t playing through pain on Saturday night, his coach and his teammates thought he didn’t look like himself.

“We obviously could tell with some of the finishes he usually finishes, we could just tell he was laboring a little bit,” Rodney Hood said postgame. “But, you know, he decided to play, and he battled it out. He tried to go through it.”

While, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts added, “I don’t know how much he was laboring. Obviously he didn’t have the same pop, but all said and done, I thought it was a good effort.”

Portland was once again without big man Hassan Whiteside, who is dealing with right hip soreness and has now missed two consecutive games.

The Blazers now find themselves riding a four-game losing streak. And at 5-12 overall, Portland is still holding strong onto the fact that they know what needs to be fixed and they still believe they have time to right the ship.

“Y’all probably don’t want to hear it," Lillard lamented, "But, it’s such a long way to go and I think because of that it’s two things you can do – you can either pout and say we should’ve won that game or we should’ve did this or we’re not doing this.”

However, Lillard knows his team isn’t going to choose that route.

“I think our team understands that there’s certain things we aren’t doing well enough to win games, but we really do as a group believe that’s it’s going to turn around."

Blazers are running out of excuses after another hard-to-believe loss

Blazers are running out of excuses after another hard-to-believe loss

I’ve looked everywhere. High and low. Near and far. And honestly, I can’t find any excuse for Portland’s 110-104 loss at Cleveland Saturday night.

It was another “can-you-believe-that?” night against one of the NBA’s worst teams – a Cavalier team that lost by 42 points at Dallas Friday night, climbed aboard a plane and arrived home in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Then, of course, Cleveland trotted out and smacked the Trail Blazers right in the mouth, handing them their fourth straight loss and 10th in their last 12 games.

Injuries have left the Trail Blazers small up front and Cleveland continued the trend of pounding Portland in the paint, this time by 50-36 points. But the Blazers are so accommodating in that area, too. Yes, they are outmanned – so what would be wrong, especially late in games, with running a double-team at the likes of Tristan Thompson? It would seem a better option than just letting him, or others, take four or five dribbles, backing Anthony Tolliver down to the basket area for an easy score.

And you can continue to blame the team’s defense – it hasn’t been very good. But in some ways, the offense has been worse. The Cavs allow 111.6 per game this season and if Portland could have just matched that figure it would have won the game. The Blazers shot poorly and settled for a lot of difficult shots, which led to them not getting to the foul line nearly as much as Cleveland. And right now, they have nobody in the mood to hunt for offensive rebounds that lead to second-chance points. They had just three second-chance points and only two fast-break points – which will get you whipped most nights by themselves.

Obviously, not a lot of easy baskets.

Portland is playing too much one-on-one and not moving the ball or its bodies. The pick and roll is soft on the picks and almost non-existent on the rolls. And often, the Blazers are getting outhustled.

“We didn’t shoot the ball very well in the first half and didn’t defend as well as we needed to in the second half,” Coach Terry Stotts said in a short meeting with the media afterward.

When you don’t shoot well, it’s usually because you don’t get good shots. Or you have the wrong people taking them. Both of those things happened to Portland.

I get all the injuries. I understand the tough schedule featuring all the road games. But this was a game that was begging to be won.

And forget the excuses. They just don’t fit that game Saturday night in Cleveland.

Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard can't will the Blazers to a win over Cavs

Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard can't will the Blazers to a win over Cavs

CLEVELAND – Coming into Saturday’s game, the Portland Trail Blazers were riding a three-game losing streak, while the Cavaliers had a six-game losing streak of their own.

The Blazers were without big man Hassan Whiteside.

The Cavs were without big man Kevin Love.

Portland did, however, get Damian Lillard back on the court after he sat out two previous games with back spasms.

It wasn’t the return Lillard would’ve hoped for, though. The Blazers All-Star point guard was slow to get up and down the court late in the game; he struggled from the field, and committed four turnovers on the night.  

But, in the final four minutes when Lillard scored seven straight points, it looked as though he was going to lead the Blazers to a come from behind victory. But, it was a little too late.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Cavs 110, Trail Blazers 104
Here are three quick takeaways from Saturday’s loss:

1.  Rebounding a problem once again for Portland

It’s not as though Cleveland’s lineup was towering over Portland’s lineup, even though without Whiteside, the Blazers started Anthony Tolliver at center. Yet, the Cavs were able to outrebound Portland significantly, and in the final seconds, they came up with big-time boards.  

2.  McCollum gets fired up, gets going

CJ McCollum had some words for the officials early in the third quarter and was hit with a technical foul at the 10:55 mark. That, in turn, helped McCollum get going offensively. The Blazers shooting guard had 10 points in the third after scoring just six points in the first half. Between McCollum and Anfernee Simons’ scoring early in the fourth the duo kept the Blazers in the game.   

3.  Cavs relying on Thompson

Despite Cleveland playing a smaller lineup too, the Cavaliers were still able to take advantage of the Blazers down low with Anthony Tolliver guarding Tristan Thompson. Thompson made sure to body up Tolliver when he was given the chance. A few times Thompson was able to get away with hooking his arm around Tolliver to get an easier path to the basket. Thompson used his quickness to take it right at the Blazers. Thompson had some help offensively, when Jordan Clarkson came alive from the three-point line late in the game.

Up Next: Portland concluded its six-game trip on Monday night in Chicago. The Blazers and Bulls tip-off at 5:00pm PT.

Check back throughout tonight and tomorrow for more articles and videos from the player!